Speech given by State Member for Chatsworth Steve Minnikin in State Parliament on May 6th 2015. You can add comments and questions at the end.
Whilst many fans of the Brisbane Lions are lamenting our woeful start to the AFL season, there is hope on the horizon—well, maybe in a few years time! I rise tonight to pay tribute to the mighty Carindale Cougars junior AFL club which celebrated their 21st birthday last week in the pouring rain. The weather was indeed atrocious when I visited the club to help them with their birthday celebrations, but I have to confess that the welcome was very warm. I was impressed by the fantastic club spirit amongst the parents, coaches, managers and the kids. Belmont State School held one of the first Auskick programs in Queensland in the early 1990s. There was great interest, so Mr Murray Bird and Michael McClare, then Brisbane junior AFL development officers, decided to put a team together to enter into the Brisbane junior AFL competition.
In 1993, 11 under-10 players started playing as an ‘adopted’ team from Morningside based out of Belmont State School. It was a great success and in 1994 the Carindale Cougars junior AFL club was officially formed. The families heavily involved at the time were the Deanes, the Battens and the Roffeys, whose daughter Chelsea Roffey is a prominent AFL goal umpire and actually umpired in the AFL grand final in 2012.
Twenty-one years on, the club has over 80 players in seven teams, stretching from under six to under 11. The Cougars are excited to have three girls playing with them this year. Two of them are in under six and one is in under nine.
Talk about success! The club has had its first junior player drafted into the AFL. Matthew Hammelmann was drafted to the Brisbane Lions in December 2014. In March this year the players at the club were delighted to have Matthew join them for a special training session. The children were over the moon to meet a senior player who was truly one of them. This indeed is the magic of junior sport, as it creates role models for young players to aspire to.
The club also has two other past players in the Brisbane Lions Academy. At the club celebrations, they were presented with their winning pennant by former president, Andrew Hopper. There is much fondness for the club from past players, who cannot believe that the Carindale Cougars club has been around for 21 years.
The players and their families come from many parts of the Chatsworth electorate that I am proud to serve, including Carindale, Carina, Belmont, Chandler and Gumdale. It is very much a grassroots, family oriented club whose motto is ‘Family, friends and footy’.
I look forward to assisting the Carindale Cougars junior AFL club wherever possible and wish it all the very best as it begins the next exciting chapter in its football history. I would also like to thank the club President, Mr Alistar Moir, and his executive. In summary, go the mighty Carindale Cougars!