To all our sponsors, members, volunteers and to my fellow committee members, thank you for your support and hard work throughout the past year. It is your support that allows us to continue to provide sporting opportunities for powerchair users.
The issue of attracting new players is again at the top of our concerns for the future. The 2016/17 Summer Season saw an average of 9 players attend, while the Winter Season averaged 8 players. It was a small but positive increase moving forward.
The introduction of Powerchair Hockey with support from Australian Powerchair Hockey Association, gave us an opportunity to revamp our Winter Season and include both Powerchair Football and Powerchair Hockey together. These changes are in line with other states around the country, with Powerchair Hockey replacing the original Hockey at N.E.W.S. next year.
Our annual best of three series, Pride Cup, featured the Scorpions and the Dragons. The Scorpions defeated the Dragons in all three sports, but the Dragons fought hard and almost snatched Hockey and Balloon Soccer. Congratulations to both teams for putting on a fantastic event!
Since November last year, three representative teams travelled to Sydney, one for N.E.W.S and two for Powerchair Football. Our club representative, Melbourne City Powerchair Team travelled to Sydney for the Powerchair Football Club Championship in January. The team managed a win against Central Coast Mariners, and were competitive against more experienced teams.
At the N.E.W.S event, the Victorian Pride Warriors were crowned Hockey champions for the 25th time. The team almost took home a second trophy but fell agonisingly short to South Australia in the Balloon Soccer final. In the Powerchair Football Nationals, Victoria finished 4th out of seven teams from around Australia and New Zealand. It was another improved campaign for Victoria, the first time Victoria has ever fielded a full team without the support from other states. Congratulations to all three teams for doing VEWSA and Victoria proud.
Over the past few months, a number of players have purchased Strikeforce chairs from the United States. This will put Victoria in a strong position to improve and compete against other states in Powerchair Football, where Queensland and New South Wales have dominated since the sports introduction in 2011.
Discussions around the future of N.E.W.S continue. Changes are expected over the next year to help increase participation and make the event more inclusive of all disabilities. VEWSA must push for change, provide vision for the future and collaborate with organisations from Victoria and interstate to bring powerchair sports the recognition and awareness it deserves. Over the next year, we must bring change to our organisation, we must be better, we must be unified.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0424 160 174