Our Club - History

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Woden Blues History since 1996

The Woden Blues Australian Rules Football Club was formed in 1996 by a group of Marist College Old boys. The side played in the Canberra District 2nd Division competition. The core group consisted of ex-Marist footballers, basketballers and their friends, primarily run by the Evans family.

After forming in the off-season, the club was initially trained by Stan Parrott. Ian McAuley was named club captain and coach, and went on to be club Best and Fairest and the competitions leading goalkicker. Tim and Steve Evans managed the club operations and kept the club alive through some tough first season on the field and off the field issues, managing to field a team strong each week.

Based at Mawson Oval (and often training in the dark) the club was involved in the Marist Juniors and Auskick. This relationship lead to the early changing of team songs from to the now famous “We are the Woden Blues” song written by 1st year player Ed Smith, after complaints about the nature of the original song.

The team surprised all clubs finishing as minor premiers only to be eliminated early in the finals series with some controversial umpiring resulting in the captain coach going on report. However the Woden Blues were always a club to be feared from Week 1. This run of great seasons continued with Woden playing in every finals series through to 2000.

A changing of the guard over the next few years saw the injection of Paul Banks, an experienced NT footballer leading the boys and the now legendary inclusion of the Harmer family including six year leading goalkicker Wayne, and the management and support of his family.

In 1998, the Blues first forged formal links with the Canberra Irish Club providing a small sponsorship for the year. A stream of disgruntled Tuggeranong players come across with former Tuggeranong Coach Jim Ingles, as well as half a dozen players new to the game and Jack Smith, who ended up playing in the Prime Ministers XI a couple of years later…

This batch of new players saw future committee members Brendan Turner and Wayne Bennett appear on the scene and as their football talents improved their involvement in the club also developed. With Mark Langhorne and Wayne Harmer ever present on the forward line the Blues successes continued. The 1998 team made the finals under the leadership of Tim White, famous for his handball to himself. Wayne Harmer won the League Leading Goalkicker.

In 1999, former Tuggernong Juniors coach Tino Pollini took the reigns, and the on-field success continued, with the Blues making the finals before being knocked out by ADFA. A formal committee had begun the long process of making the club as successful off field as on. The side again changed dramatically, with just a few of the Tuggeranong players remaining, including team champion Steve Kettewell, who won the League Best and Fairest, and old man Glenn Wilson. Dave Stembridge joined the club after hearing the club was about having a “kick and a beer” and the playing roster had changed shape again. Wayne Harmer won the League Leading Goalkicker.

2000 saw the clubs 5th coach in 5 years, a karaoke stalwart from the Irish Club, Wayne Cook. Coach Cook came across from a successful playing career finishing up at Gungahlin, and took charge of a lineup that was short in numbers but big in heart. With Steve Kettewell forced to retire with injury halfway through the season, “accidental” Blue Simon Visser went on to dominate the Club awards at the end of the season.

2000 also saw the Blues move to the relative luxury of Stirling Oval, and despite missing the finals for the first time, the Clubs future looked promising. Wayne Harmer won the League Leading Goalkicker.

Wayne Cook maintained the reigns in 2001, and with a influx of youth and experience into the side, and the return of a few old faces, the Blues made the finals again, being unluckily knocked out by ADFA in extra time. Baseballers Keith Ward and Eppa O’Loughlin joined the club on Coach Cooky’s suggestion and were joined by young faces in the form of the Nihill brothers, and Paul Maher, younger brother of former club champion Damian Maher.

Paul Topp, brother of first year player Dave Topp dominated the field for the Blues and won all the major trophies at the end of the season. Wayne Harmer won the League Leading Goalkicker.

2002 saw a “new-look” side again, and the Blues first Premiership. The Club went undefeated in the home and away series, with a memorable come from behind win over Belconnen and tight phyiscal clashes against Murrumbidgee season highlights.

The side was boosted by the recruitment of former Marist Junior and Eastlake player Richard Wharton, who went on to win the Clubs Best and Fairest and Players Player, the AFLACT Div 2 Best and Fairest, and Best on Ground in the Grand Final. Other recruits included giant ruckman and former National Volleyballer Troy Goodman, and an influx of former Marist juniors in Adam Woods, Ashley Carter and Jimmy Trewhella.

Wayne Harmer again won League Leading Goalkicker.

The first final was against arch-rivals Murrumbidgee, who took the match to Woden all day. A 2 goal victory saw the Blues into the Grand Final, which was a replay of the first final.

Sean Lyons was outstanding, and Wayne Harmers 7 goal game saw the Blues home. The result was a great reward for those loyal workers such as Stu and Lorraine Harmer, Manager Sharon Harmer, Treasurer Clive Dolan and the rest of the hard working committee.

Season 2003 began with the Blues continuing in same vein as 2002 – undefeated after 10 rounds of the season, despite massive upheaval in the playing list after the retirement of long time Blues Cookson, Minerds, Brittain, Stack, Parrott and Sharman. Veteran Brett Matthews joined the Blues for “one last season” and a chance at his first ever Premiership, whilst Tullibigeals finest Mick Picolo Fyfe moved up to the big smoke and tagged along for the ride.

The Blues struggled with numbers as the season progressed, and dropped 2 of their last 4 games to have dubious form going into the finals. However, the Blues managed to come good at the right end of the season, with a 10 goal victory over the Gungahlin Jets in a one sided Grand Final, landing Matthews his first ever flag in 17 years of senior football!

2004 saw another upheaval in playing stock, with the loss of Max Cook, Rowan Thompson and Tim Burke amongst others.

Woden gained many new players for 2004, many without recent football experience, and gave the newcomers opportunities to develop their skills.

The Blues started the shortened season well, going undefeated for the first 7 rounds until a trip to a wet and windy Ken Zimmer Oval, where they were defeated by the Gungahlin Jets in atrocious conditions.

After defeating arch rivals Murrumbidgee easily in Round 1, and by 7 points in a thriller at Round 6, the Blues were flogged in their Round 11 match at Stirling. After finishing level on points and winning the minor premiership on percentage, the Blues flogged Murrumbidgee in the Preliminary Final to make it through to their third consecutive Grand Final, eventually running out comfortable victors over their local rivals.

2005 saw the Blues pushed up to Canberra District Division 1 – at the same time as guys such as Captain Rich Wharton, O’Loughlin, Goodman and Lyons all retired due to old age and relocation. Retired midfielder Brett ‘Yoda’ Matthews took over as coach, and had an almost entirely new team to work with. Unfortunately for Yoda, this team, despite being big on heart, were not up to the level required. Standouts for the Blues in a difficult year were Players Player Gary Reilly, new Captain Sean Nihill, and Andrew ‘Cheese’ Kirkpatrick. Leading goalkicker was Craig Wood with 13.

Come 2006 and the playing roster changed dramatically again – gone were Wood, Reilly, Kirkpatrick and others – in came former AFL Canberra legend Rick Jordan and assistant Simon Collard, and their band of mates from way back including Chris ‘Nose’ Smith, ‘Lips’ McGlynn, Tim ‘TD’ Dalwood, and Weston Creek refugees Simon Platt, Cable Dohnt and Stuie Lang. Rohan McMullan returned from the Soloman Islands to bolster the midfield.

The Blues struggled through the first half of the year, trying to find form and click as a team. Come the halfway mark of the season, Blues hard man Scott Minchin urged the boys to put the fun back into football. The boys responded, and were competitive in every game in the second half of the season, racking up 4 wins and giving big scares to two of the eventual finals teams. Macca won his second B&F, whilst Nose picked up Players Player in his first season in 5 years.

Rick Jordan returned as coach in 2007, bringing out of retirement his cousin and former Mulrooney Medallist Glen ‘Dicko’ Dickerson. Tim Steen and Michael Altus left the soon to be defunct Weston Creek club, and the Blues picked up Brad Lynch, Seb White and future club sponsor Josh Veliscek, as well as Brad Taylor and Lee Butcher among others. Former ACT Rep Stars Matt ‘Digga’ Ryan and Ryan Kearney were talked out of retirement but were injured during the season and failed to make the finals. The Blues were competitive all year, making the finals for the first time in CD1’s, but their season ended at the hands of Harman with half a team watching on injured – and the rest of the team playing injured.

Tim Steen cleaned up B&F and players player, with rookie Seb White runner up.

2008 was seen as ‘the year’ – coach Jordan was back, Michael ‘Googs’ Stevens had joined with Shannon Dunn, Chris ‘Nose’ Smith and AFL Rookie Josh Campbell, the Blues were confident heading into the season. It was not to be as the Blues never got their best 22 on the paddock all year before finishing a disappointing 5th. The Blues lost Nose, Screech, Helmet and Platty at the end of the year.

Tim Steen went back to back B&F and was runner up in the AFL Canberra B&F, with Fred Nortje runner up. Michael Altus won players player with Michael Stevens pickin gup leading goalkicker.

With Coach Jordan hanging up the board, the Blues appointed former (5 game) player Rickie Dolliver as coach, ably assisted by club stalwart Glenn ‘Razz’ Fowler. Dollie created history with the Blues first ever pre-Christmas training, and the Blues recruited their first ever Sudanese player in Dheiu ‘Token’ Mading, as well as Eggo, Lawny, and the Marist connection of Chris Chivers, Joey Luks and Jack Mason.

The season started brilliantly, with the Blues first win in a long time over ADFA – a Shannon Dunn miracle prevented a goal and the Blues were away and full of confidence for the upcoming season. The Blues season was full of up and downs, but the boys scraped into the finals.

Woden played traditional rivals Murrumbidgee in the Elimination final at Greenway. In club legend Simon Visser’s 150th game for the Blues, the boys lead by 29 at the main break with Stevens dominating up forward. Vis’s day ended early with a busted ankle, but the Blues held on by 3 points at the final break.

To quote the match report ‘The Jugs blazed away and looked to miss their chance before a scrubby kick hit league leading goal kicker Hilly at the top of the square. It was an injustice for Junior who had towelled him all day. Hilly came in and amazingly hit the post – the Blues stayed alive. From the kickout the ball found the boundary and the siren went – Woden won by a point!

The crowd roared, the players celebrated – the get out of jail free card was used. It wasn’t until the umpires waved the flags at the scoreboard that the Blues relief was confirmed, and the boys stay alive for another week.’

Woden took on ANU at Queanbeyan and dominated the first three quarters to hold a 20 point lead at the final break. Injuries and fitness took its toll, and ANU ran out 27 point victors.

Sean Nihill picked up his second B&F, from Greg Eggins and Michael Stevens. The Pirate made it a double with Players player.

2010 saw the traditional turnover in personnel – Dolliver was back but his team was completely different again! Matt Smith, Jimmy Smith, Alex Hayward all came from Eastlake, with Andrew Kirkpatrick and Chris Karchinsky returning from softball.

The all new Football Park in Phillip was due to open in April – the Blues called it their home in July 2010.

The player numbers dropped off quickly so former players Platt, Kearney and Juggernaut McPherson were drawn in by halfway through the year. It was a tough season with a number of highlights and surprise victories. The Blues missed the finals in 5th, and Budge and Dicko amongst others confirmed their retirements at the end of the season.

Best and fairest was won by Michael Altus, with Players Player won by Glenn Dickerson 20 years after his Mulrooney Medal triumph. Chris Karchinsky won most consistant, with Simon Visser taking out leading goalkicker.

After 10 years on the Committee and 4 as President, Wayne Harmer stepped down and was replaced by Wayne Bennett.

2011 saw Michael Altus take the reins as coach with the encouragement and support of the Blues Committee and playing group. Gone was Pirate and plenty of others. Brett Stabb returned from a stint at Batemans Bay, bringing along Corey Cutmore. Jason Lucas came from Melbourne, and Aaron Campbell came in from the Yass Roos. The season opener set the tone for the year – 4 players gone by quarter time. Veterans Kearney, Platt, Dicko, Budge, Eckers, Eggo joined Altie, Steamer, Googs, Vis etc in Dads army to play out a season where the team was competitive for 3 quarters each game but not fit enough to run it out… Season highlight was probably Paul Fry’s goal after 80 games, the longest drought in the history of the Blues.

The awards signalled the change of guard – Chris Karchinsky won B&F, with Ash Carter getting players player. Josh Campbell won leading goalkicker.

2012 again sees a new start, with former Blues player Luke Barrett taking the reigns, assisted by Paul Fry.
With a group of players retiring and moving on, The Blues were keen to source some new players to the club. In a positive outcome, the Club’s newest recruit Russell Fort enjoyed his first few sessions that he brought along a group of 7 mates from school, work and previous football clubs to help boost numbers for the year. The year was a tough and hard fought year, with a handful of games won, the club was starting to rebuild.
2013 saw one of the “original” players from the 1996 debut team, Stan Parrot, take on the Senior Coaching role. Stan’s year as coach was always going to be a tough task with the club clearly continuing to work on rebuilding and start to introduce some younger players to the playing lists. With again, only a handful of games won, the club continued to work on rebuilding and build the team list.

The 2014 season started off with a new coach taking the reigns. Pete Davey had a massive challenge on his hands as hopes were high right from the seasons start. The club was in fine form leading into the first couple of rounds and by the middle of the season the club was hopeful of making the finals. The top four spots were decided in the last two rounds but in typical blues fashion, players came out of the wood works and pushed the club over the line to make the finals. The coaching staff and players did a magnificent job throughout the blues final series that saw the boys just lose the elimination final by 2 points to Ainslie and just miss out on a Grand Final birth.
The 2015 season was always going to be a big year for the club. Russell Fort took over as Club President and for the first time in the clubs history, the Woden Blues Football Club RESERVES team was formed and showed that the club was growing and building to become bigger and stronger than ever before.
Pete Davey continued on as the Senior Coach. The Reserves would be coached in their debut year by a Blues Legend, Rick Jordan. The 2015 Club Captain was Chris Karchinsky, whilst the first ever Reserves Captain was David Pevinsky. The senior’s pushed on in great form for the start of the season, along with promising signs in the reserves. By the end of the season the senior side had only 2 losses and 13 wins to award the group the Minor Premiership. The reserves received great support from past blues players helping to boost the reserves numbers throughout the year with a few too many injuries. The reserves, in their first year, made the finals, but lost to ADFA in a close semi-final game.
The senior side won their semi-final game against ANU by 28 points and earnt a spot in the Grand Final. The seniors had a rest for the next week before facing the winner of the preliminary finals game decider between ADFA and ANU.
2015 Grand Final Recap:
Early hours of the morning on the 5th of September saw the Woden blues fans and supporters arriving at Gungahlin oval in preparation for the AFL Canberra’s 3rd Grade Grand Final. It was always going to be a tough game between Woden and ANU. The first quarter saw the scores tied at a goal apiece but at the cost of John Kane’s knee things were looking tough out there for the blues. By half time John Kane Knee was stripped to the max and he was back out on the field fighting hard for the ball and scoring goals. The blues had gotten in front by 22 points by half time but were in no way safe with this lead. Lee Campbell effective in the forward line while old Chris Karchinsky was pushing hard through the center. ANU came out at half time with a big effort but the blues answered back as hard if not harder than ANU did. Paul Maher and Aaron Duroux were on fire in the back line along with Jarrod Conway. By the last quarter the blues were just up by 21 points. ANU came out at the last quarter pushing the blues to the limit but the guys stayed firm and got over the line to win by 13 points. Chris Karchinsky won best on ground for the Grand Final.
The 2016 season see’s Ricky Jordan taking over the Senior side along with an old familiar blues face Michael Altus taking over the coaching role for the Reserves.