Cats Training began then we ran into COVID-19

“It started with a bang”, said Schoey (Paul Schofield) Director of football from the Lane Cove Cats. “Pre-season training is so important for skills development and team bonding. It’s all about having fun, getting fit and listening to the sage advice from our coaches who are involved in all levels of AFL in Sydney.”

Training for the various girls teams is on 5pm on Wednesday and Fridays and the boys train 5pm Thursday and Friday. The Friday session is really a chance to hone your skills practicing specific aspects of the game, a bit like a golfer is constantly tweaking their golf swing.

Training is also an opportunity to meet members of teams that maybe from different schools or in different age groups you don’t get to see regularly. “It certainly will be a great preparation for the weekends games”.

Unfortunately all of this has come to a sudden halt due to COVID-19 and the cancellation of the events till the 31st of May. This doesn’t mean you can’t stop training. You can always grab a ball, a friend or even a dog and have a kick, pass or run to enhance the skills you have already learnt.

Over the coming weeks we will post specific activities you can do on your own or in small groups after school or during the lunch break… Stay tuned.

President’s Update, Sep 2019

How time flies. Its seems like only yesterday that I was preparing for the 2019 season. And now I found myself looking back on what was another a great year.

As a club, we are well positioned to continue to prosper and provide kids in the Lane Cove area an avenue to not only keep fit, but develop life long skills for life in general.

However, we also lost one of our great stalwarts. Steve Chisholm, our founder and spiritually leader lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. We are forever indebted to him. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family.

We experienced another strong year with overall growth around 15%. We fielded a record 16 teams across the U8 to U14 age groups, including 4 JV teams and 3 girls teams.

One of the proudest initiatives I think the club has been involved with was the Disability Program. We were one of only SIX clubs to be part of the inaugural All Abilities program in AFL Sydney. This program targeted players with a intellectual disability, such as autism. We hosted one of the five gala days, as well as providing support at the other venues.

A lot of the time, these kids just want to be considered part of the normal cohort. So when we had a family reach out and ask if their son could play in one of our regular teams, we did everything in our power to make it happen. Jacob Brown is a true age U11 boy but attends main stream primary school at the year below his age (year 4). He has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with a moderate intellectual disability. With the help of the AFL, we were able to get special dispensation for him to play in U10s within a few days. He ended up donning the LCC colours in round 5 this year.

We couldn’t of done this without the huge support of Roger Moten and Mic Lumley and all the boys from Team Hawkins. They welcomed him with open arms and treated him like just any other boy in the team.

Thank to all those that have so far responded to our member survey. I would like to quickly address some of the issues that have been raised from this.

We are still trying to find the right formula for the joint venture arrangement with North Ryde. And we have made some mistakes along the way. In particular, the U11 JV was not the right structure and sadly some boys ended up having a disappointing experience this year.

For that, we are sorry. We could of done better, and work work over the summer to make it a much more enjoyable experience for future kids.

But we can’t ignore the fact that the livelihood of our club will be dependent on this arrangement. In Sydney, junior numbers drop sharply when transitioning from primary school to secondary school. As an example, registrations were 850 in U10, to 820 in U12 and 670 in U13 and 580 in U14. That’s a 30% fall over 4 years.

As such, there is an increasing reliance on JVs across the Sydney region. In 2019, there were 23 teams in the U14 age group. Of these, 40% were JV teams. This is up from 20% in 2017.

In our region, there are club alliances such as the Canada Bay, Northern Lights and Willoughby Mosman. There are also multiple JV teams from clubs including Pennant Hills, North Ryde, Glebe & Newtown.

So we are determined to make this work. Such arrangements are clearly the best way for us to enable kids to enjoy their footy by playing at the right level.

In today’s world where the digital revolution is seeing more and more of use become less engaged with the community around us, the role of community organisations take on increase importance.

I don’t think there is any better community spirit found in junior sporting codes than in Australian Rules football. And at Lane Cove Cats, we pride ourselves as being a family friendly club that give every child a chance to enjoy this great game of ours.

We don’t solely focus on only the highly talented juniors who have dreams of playing in the elite competition. We want to be a club where kids can enjoy playing their footy with their mates. That is why a joint venture is so important. It will allow us to provide teams that meat everyone’s needs.

I’m really proud of our girls program, thanks to the hard work of our committee, lead by our youth girls coordinator Greg Byrne. Greg was in fact awarded the Youth Coach of the Year at the recent awards night for AFL Sydney Juniors.

This bodes well for the future direction of this program. In 2020 we are looking to enter a team in the U16 division, adding to our current U10, U12 and U14 groups.

We will be conducting the JuniorX tournament over summer once again. This is a great way to keep your skills up during the off-season. However, its also a great way for new people to the sport. Please read here for more information.

And of course, for all those parents who have been inching to show their kids how well they can play, your chance has arrived. The spring season of the AFL9s competition is just around the corner.

If you are interested in getting more involved with the club, we are always looking for more volunteers. Please contact myself, or any member of the committee if you want any more information. No offer is too big or too small.

If you ready to committee, why not come along to the 2019 AGM to be conducted at the Diddy on Wed 23 October. Click here for more information.

Hope to see you all back at the club in 2020!

Help out at the club by joining the committee

We have set the date for the Lane Cove Cats Annual General Meeting. It will be held 7.00 pm Wednesday 23 October 2019 at Longueville Sporting Club (The Diddy).

We encourage members from all age groups to consider committee involvement. Introduction of new talent to the committee ensures the Club continues to be relevant to its current membership, brings new ideas and allows prudent succession planning and knowledge transfer as longer serving members retire.

And it doesn’t matter what amount of time you can offer. It can be as little as an hour on one weekend, or multiple hours each week over the entire season.

In 2020, we are looking for a couple of key appointments. We are hoping to have a permanent canteen in place next year, and would love to have a Canteen Manager to make sure its stocked with food prior to each weekend of games.

We also have some key vacancies to fill. We are looking for someone (ie an accountant) to help manage the books over the season. This year the club setup the accounting package Zero, which should make things relatively easy to manage.

Please click here for more information.

Toyota Good for Footy raffle closing soon

The Toyota Good for Footy Raffle is closing soon. Purchase your tickets before Wednesday, 18 September 2019 at 12pm AEST to be in the running to win some magnificent prizes (including a Toyota Kluger).

Thank you so much to those that have already purchased a ticket. We have raised over $2200 so far. But we would love to reach our target of $2500 before it closes.

Remember, this money is going to the purchase of a canteen and small club rooms down on Steve Chisholm Oval.

2019 Member Survey

Thank you all for being part of our club in 2019. We hope you and your child have enjoyed their time being part of the Lane Cove Cats family.

We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about the running of the club order to better serve our members in the future.

Therefore we would appreciate if you could complete this survey It should only take 1-2 minutes to complete and contains mainly multiple answer questions. Be assured that all answers you provide will be kept in the strictest confidence.

Begin Survey

The Week Ahead 21st-28th August

Thursday 22nd August

17:00-18:30 Training for teams in Finals @ Blackman B3/B4

Sunday 25th August:

Steve Chisholm Oval (Blackman Park)

09:00-10:15 Lane Cove/North Ryde U11 Menegola vs Pittwater Tigers Dusty U11-1 10:30-11:45 Leichhardt Cygnets U11-3 vs Pittwater Tigers Rioli U11-3
12:00-13:30 North Ryde/ Lane Cove U14-2 v Western Suburbs Magpies U14-2

Monday 26th August

Kieren Jack Medal ceremony @ Epping Club
(AFL Sydney Juniors Best & Fairest awards night)

Coming Up

Presentation Day 8th September from 11am

Lane Cove Cats in 2020

The pathway for children in the AFL can be confusing. Community club football has been joined by a variety of school programs.

We are also a growing club, with new and different avenues opening up every year. In 2020, the Lane Cove Cats will continue to expand the number of programs we operate.

Our award winning Auskick program will return bigger and better. In addition to our regularly sessions, we will be looking to develop a girls-only stream to accommodate those children that may be reluctant to mix it up with the boys.

Due to the strong numbers in U8 Auskick, we should see a strong number of teams in the younger junior divisions. However our U11 and U12 age groups are also expected to be strong as well.

In the youth division, we will see further expansion in our joint venture with North Ryde. This will result in JV teams in U13 through to U15.

So in the name of simplicity, we’ve tried to summarise it all for our members.


Auskick is the premier AFL program for children new to the sport. It makes learning to play AFL fun, safe and easy for boys and girls. Through weekly coaching sessions they will learn the skills of the game in an exciting, social and safe environment.

Children will learn the fundamental motor skills vital for future physical activity and sport participation as well as learning how to interact with other children as part of a team in small group activities.

Within the Auskick program, we have two main streams.

Auskick 5-8 years

This involves Sunday morning sessions for approximately one hour. It consists of drills that teach the fundamentals of the game in a safe and fun environment. It also involves some internal grid games, using modified rules and no tackling.

Auskick U8’s Non Competitive Games

Around week four of the season, the children aged 8 are invited to participate in the Auskick U8 competition. This is a step up from the internal grid games, with boys and girls playing against other Auskick programs around Sydney.

Its always played on Sunday morning, and has no competition tables or divisionalised or graded team. Its played on a reduced field size separated into zones to avoid congestion and spread opportunity. The rules are modified including no tackling.

School and Community Programs

There are a host of programs tailored to primary school students across the nation. These aim to introduce the game to new children.

These include:

  • Learn AFL Auskick – a development program targeted at students with limited to no knowledge of AFL. The curriculum linked program to specific educational outcomes achieved through practicing the core skills of the game and learning about the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants.
  • Experience AFL Auskick – a development program targeted at students with some understanding of AFL. The curriculum linked program expands on this knowledge via specific skill sessions and modified match play whilst learning about the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants.
  • Sporting Schools Program – the AFL Sporting Schools Program has been developed to facilitate the delivery of AFL in schools. The program provides schools the opportunity to access Australian Sports Commission funding to assist with the delivery of the program.
  • After School Auskick Centre – after school clinics based on participant abilities, run on school grounds, after school by qualified AFL staff.
  • Multicultural/ Indigenous Programs


This involves children aged 9 and above, although in certain circumstances we can have children aged 7 or 8 play in this competition.

Junior Football is the next step for kids who are ready to move on from NAB AFL Auskick or other introductory school and/or community programs. It’s the perfect environment for kids to have fun learning through play, make new friends and create memories that last a lifetime. Rules of matches are modified so children can continue to develop their skills in an enjoyable, safe atmosphere.

At Lane Cove Cats, we have two main programs; mixed juniors and girls. The mixed juniors involves boy ands girls playing in age groups from under 9 up to under 12.

The youth girls program is relatively new. In fact, this year is the first year for the under 10 age group, while the under 12 age groups is in its second year.

These competitions are female specific competitions aimed at introducing new players to AFL and continuing the pathway for females aged 13 to 18 years.

Many girls prefer to play Australian Football in single gender environments, and where possible we recommend girls over age 10 do so. However, should your daughter prefer to play in mixed-gender team or competition they are permitted to do so until age 14.

Youth Football

Tailor made for players of all abilities and aspirations, Youth Football caters to teenage boys and girls aged from 13 to 18. An ideal progression from either NAB AFL Auskick or Junior Football, Youth Football provides children with the opportunity to play in a graded competition within a club environment.

Fun, fast and often skilful, Youth Football is a chance for children to play football with their friends and establish new friendships, with a distinct focus on team building.

At Lane Cove Cats, our youth football program is provided through a joint venture with our neighbouring club, the North Ryde Dockers.

In most sports across Australia, you get a natural decline in participation as children enter high school. This is when study, social activities and part-time work pressures are increasing. Participation drop-out then accelerates through the teenage years. In Sydney we are also facing diminishing available green space and an explosion in Auskick and junior clubs on the North Shore.

Under this strategy, we will have a much better chance of providing a club environment that caters to all age groups and skill sets the school years.

This structure is a common set up across the North Shore and the wider Sydney basin. Willoughby Wildcats have a joint venture with Mosman Swans from the U13 age groups and higher. Drummoyne Power and Concord Giants have also formed the Canada Bays Cannons for U13-U17 age groups.

Player Pathway

Below is a diagram outlining the structure of the club and the pathway for children from Auskick to senior football. We hope this provides some clarity for parents.

AFL NSW Sydney Swans ticket offer!

As we approach the end of the season, the AFL would like to thank all the volunteers for everything you have done to guide and lead the next generation of footy stars!

What better way to celebrate the season than getting your team together for a day out at the SCG? Please see below an offer from the Sydney Swans.

The Sydney Swans would like to invite all AFL Sydney junior players and their families to celebrate the 2019 season together when they take on St Kilda on Saturday, August 24 at the SCG. First bounce is at 1:45pm.

Thanks to the Swans, you and your team can access an exclusive End of Season Footy ticket offer:

  • Adults $35
  • Juniors $10
  • Families (Admits 4) $60

Use the password JnrFootyFest or Click Here

Groups of 10 or more can contact Sydney Swans Ticketing on 9339 9197 or to take advantage of this offer.

The AFL hopes you, the junior players and families enjoy the last round of footy! And for those teams progressing through to the finals, good luck.

Vale Steve Chisholm

It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that Steve Chisholm has lost his long battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family.

Steve is the founder of this club and worked tirelessly in the early years to keep this club going. We are forever indebted to him.

It all starter in 2007 with a vision to bring AFL the Lane Cove region. Steve Chisholm was a long time Lane Cove resident but felt the kids in the region needed a club of their own so they could play Australia’s indigenous game.

He knocked on the doors of all the local schools and lobbied the NSW AFL. He eventually started an Auskick programme at St Michaels Primary School; which was amazing considering his son was too old for Auskick.

Steve was ably assisted by Roger Caine. Each year they managed to persuade more and more members to join up. This eventually led to the formation of an Under 9 and 10’s team.

In 2011 Steve Chisholm met another ex Victorian who had a similar vision of AFL in Lane Cove, but on a bigger stage. Enter Nick Brumley who turned the St Michael’s Blues into the the club we know today, the Lane Cove Cats.

Many people thought he would never succeed. With clubs already established in the region, the risks were high. But Steve wanted to create something unique; a junior football club in Lane Cove that prides itself on providing a platform for kids of all abilities to enjoy Australia’s indigenous game.

His selfishness, drive, commitment and empathy for others are the cornerstones of the club we know today.

Steve’s legacy will live on with the club and in the community for many years to come. His son, Alex Chisholm, is an emerging AFL umpire, who reached the highest level last year when goal umpiring the his first AFL match between Sydney v North Melbourne in round 7 (2018). He is also survived by his wife Kate.

Rest in peace Steve.

Thank you

Volunteers are the backbone of AFL community clubs. Therefore its no surprise that the success and sustainability is strongly linked to the quality of volunteer base. They are the leaders of our club, the influencers, the mentors and the role models to our young players.

And I believe we have the best bunch of volunteers on the lower North Shore.
So I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who’s helped out around the club.

As Winston Churchill said,

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

From the Auskick parent who carried some goal posts back to the storage room, to the coaches who give up their spare time to teach the kids, to the parents who set such a positive example for the kids on the sidelines; you have all helped. Even something as simple as purchasing a raffle ticket, is well appreciated.

We also have a hard working committee, who give up hours of their time to help keep this club running smoothly. Most of this work goes unnoticed but is no the less important as coaching a team.

We’ve also seen some people go beyond the call of duty.

  • To the people who have helped out on the BBQ. In particular on election day (McLeods, Ogier’s, Stewart’s Lowry’s, Jones’, Ladmore’s, Stante’s, Hoult’s), where we made ~$2000 serving democracy sausages,
  • Our Vice President Jane Zahra who has single-handedly organised our great looking club merchandise,
  • Our coaching coordinator Paul Schofield who has supported all the coaches despite not having a child playing at the club,
  • Mark Scown, who spearheaded the acquisition of our new sponsor, WonderWhite!

This Saturday, the Sydney Swans are also celebrating the volunteers with a Grassroots Appreciation Round. We will have 10 players taking part in a lap of honour before the game. The Swans have also offered us discounted tickets ($35 each, with children under 14 free) to sit as a club together. If you would like to take up this offer, please email me before Thursday 12pm.

So once again, thank you for the hours all of you have given. This is your club, and you should all be proud of what we we have created.

Daniel Hynes

Lane Cove Cats