By Hayley Wildes
The year 2009 was a major step forward for football in the local region, and 10 years on the partnership between the Melbourne Football Club and the City of Casey has never been stronger.
Almost 10 years ago to the day, 5 June 2009, the Melbourne Football Club officially announced its 30-year commitment to the City of Casey and the benefits for the local community – on and off the football field have been immense.
“It’s been a massive progression – we’re 10 years into a 30-year partnership and probably over the last two years the partnership has escalated quite dramatically,” said general manager of Casey Football, Peter Maynard.
“Now at Casey Fields, besides what was just the AFL training and community camps, we’ve got our AFLW home games played here and they train here, our VFL program, our VFLW program, the Melbourne Football Club Academy is based here, we’re also the major partner for the South East Juniors and we’ve also formed a partnership with the Cranbourne Netball Association, so we’ve got a Casey Demons team in the Victorian Netball League.”
As well as having those teams in the local community, the programs and initiatives that continue to be run throughout the City of Casey that have Melbourne Football Club involvement are just as important.
“As part of the partnership with the City of Casey, we’re committed to delivering a number of community programs which are many and varied.” Maynard said.
Programs such as ‘We Are, We Can, We Will’ – which aims to empower, encourage and break down barriers to get more women and girls involved in sport and physical activity, as well as a YMCA partnership, multicultural and indigenous programs, training clinics and education programs.
The strength of the Casey Demons on-field in the VFL is another example of the success of this partnership.
Over the past three years, the Demons have finished the VFL home and away season as minor premiers (2016), fourth (2017) and second (2018). Although ultimate glory hasn’t been achieved, a tough brand of football has been the staple of Casey for years and gives fans plenty to be proud of.
When the partnership officially began back in 2009, the Melbourne-aligned VFL team was known as the Casey Scorpions – formerly the Springvale Scorpions – before making the switch to the Demons prior to the 2017 VFL season.
The club is still extremely proud and aware of the Scorpions’ history and this weekend they pay tribute to the Scorpions.
“Melbourne’s biggest day of the year is always against Collingwood on the Queen’s Birthday and our VFL team has a heritage round dedicated to Springvale Football Club,” Maynard said of Casey’s clash against Collingwood on Sunday afternoon at Casey Fields.
“We still do a lot to retain the heritage and brand of the Springvale Football Club.”
There have been some great players roll through the doors at Casey Fields and some highlights that have to be seen to be believed over the past 10 years, but undoubtedly the highlights off-field and in the community have been just as special.