Auskick to launch in Docklands

Auskick to launch in Docklands
David Schout

Docklands Sports Club (DSC) is set to launch its first ever Auskick program, in conjunction with North Melbourne Football Club.

Already offering junior cricket and soccer programs, it was only a matter of time before the club located at Ron Barassi Snr Park hosted Aussie rules programs for local kids.

DSC president Carina Parisella said a conversation with Docklands Primary School principal Adam Bright had planted a seed, and they were now all set to go.

Mr Bright had indicated that local kids would certainly be interested if a footy program was established.

“We thought ‘why not?’,” Ms Parisella told Docklands News.

“We reached out to North Melbourne Football Club, and they were so excited to partner with us!”

The five-week program was due to kick off on Saturday, July 17, but after Melbourne was plunged into a fifth period of COVID-19 lockdown, the tentative starting date (at time of publishing) was Saturday, July 31.

Despite a stop-start winter season punctuated by lockdown breaks, DSC has continued to build a strong community base in 2021.

The club’s flagship Miniroos soccer program, aimed for kids aged four to 11, was attracting around 50 children each Sunday morning.

In August, DSC was also set to launch a midweek program with Melbourne Victory for kids aged 10 to 14, that would focus on technical skills.

The club was already in conversation with Football Victoria (the State’s soccer governing body) to establish formal, competitive junior teams from next year.

Notably, it has also installed new signage on the clubrooms at Ron Barassi Snr Park, which is located next to the Bolte Bridge.

“We’re very excited!” Ms Parisella said.

“Just before lockdown hit, we were able to organise some signage on the windows, plus the big back wall of the pavilion. It’s a great way to draw attention that this is a community club — for the community, by the community — and it just gives us that additional bit of exposure for anyone walking past, or who have kids playing in the playground.”

She reported that the club’s new coffee machine, often seen operated by her dad and fellow Docklander Sam, was working overtime.

“Dad’s very excited, he’s sort of the head barista these days! He’s loving it. That’s creating more conversation and it’s a great way to gather. It’s all about creating a sense of community in Docklands centred around sport,” she said.

While Melbourne’s lockdown has been disappointing for the club, Ms Parisella said the club had used the quiet period to its advantage.

“It’s giving us some downtime to really reflect and assess the strategy of the club. If we didn’t have the last lockdown [Melbourne’s fourth], we wouldn’t have actually been able to start the conversation with the North Melbourne Football Club about how we can keep building momentum.”

She revealed that the club was now part of a Docklands Gift organising committee and that the race, run for the first time in March this year, would return for 2022.

“It [lockdown] has actually given us some time to do that, whereas if we were out every day on the weekend, we wouldn’t necessarily have that. But we’re all feeling a bit more refreshed and strategising what that looks like. So, the Gift is well and truly coming back next year, and lockdown has given us that time to work through different things surrounding that.” •

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