Leon Cameron joins the Cannons coaching group

GWS GIANTS senior coach Leon Cameron is taking on a new coaching role for Season 2020 – helping out the U14 Division One Canada Bay Cannons youth AFL team.

“It’s just my way of helping out a great local footy club. I know the boys well – they’re great young fellas and a fantastic bunch of parents. I see the parents contributing – running water, helping out the coach. The more volunteers you can get at a local footy club, the better.

“This is just my way of contributing.”

Leon will be helping Cannons parent John Nandlal, who has helped coach a number of teams for the Cannons and Drummoyne Power. While it will be John who will set the team agenda, Leon expects to be at most weekly training sessions and as many games as the GWS draw allows.

“What you want from the kids is a growth mindset – where they grow and learn and listen – and to enjoy it. If people enjoy it, people will play more. And the more people who play AFL – the more people who play any sport – the better.”

“I love the game. It’s the best game in the world in my mind and if I can help any young kids to develop their football then that’s what I am looking forward to the most.”

Cannons Coaching Coordinator Mike Andrews said the club was excited to have Leon join the coaching panel.

“Quality coaching is so important to on-field performance and ultimately player enjoyment, which leads to increased retention,” Andrews said.

“The Cannons already have a strong relationship with GWS, taking part in an innovative coach mentorship program with the GIANTS over the past two seasons.

“The Cameron family has always been generous volunteers – we’ve also seen Leon’s wife Carolyn in a coaching bib in our junior club in past seasons.

“To have a coach of Leon’s experience helping our U14s, as one of the Dads, will be a terrific experience for the boys, particularly at this stage in their junior footy careers,” Andrews said.

Welcome to the Cannons, JR Fitness Coaching!

We’re excited to announce a new Gold Sponsor for the Canada Bay Cannons in Season 2019, with JR Fitness Coaching joining our sponsorship panel.

The man behind JR Fitness Coaching is Justin Rosales. Justin is a local personal trainer, running group and individual training sessions in the Drummoyne area.

Justin was introduced to AFL by the Drummoyne Power U18 Youth Girls. He came on board in the 2018 pre-season as a fitness trainer, and quickly became their “man of the season” and a passionate supporter of youth girls footy, playing an integral role in the team for training and on game days.

With the U18 Power girls joining the Cannons this season, we’re really pleased that Justin has extended his support to the Cannons as a Gold Sponsor.

So… now is the time to follow up on that New Year’s resolution to get in more exercise! Please check out what Justin has to offer. Our U18 youth girls can absolutely vouch for his fitness program! Follow JR Fitness Coaching on Facebook and Instagram, check out his website, or get in touch via email: justin.jrfitnesscoach@gmail.com

Junior Girls AFL: A Sport that Needs a Change

How growth at the grassroots is being stunted

Teenage girls playing junior AFL at St Luke’s Oval are getting ready in a small, cold public toilet block while boys are in the comparative luxury of purpose-built dressing sheds next door.

Officials at the Canada Bay Cannons’ home at Concord’s St Luke’s Oval say they are embarrassed for the girls but there is no option when games overlap at the busy ground.

Visiting female teams playing their semi-finals two weeks ago were forced to queue up to 20 at a time to access the two metres by four metres space with chipped tiles and two cubicles.

The club is desperate to fix the situation.

As young girls are flocking to the sport, the club says plans to build more change facilities and to upgrade the playing surface to make it safe for kids have stalled because federal and state government funding promised two years ago has not eventuated.

Leon Cameron, head coach of leading AFL club the GWS Giants, was dismayed by the conditions when he visited the junior football oval and said it contradicts the sport’s promotion at the grassroots.

“We’re pushing our girls into these sort of change rooms that are totally unacceptable whereas the boys have obviously got pretty good facilities, he said.

“If we are really going to push this game for women we’ve got to support it as well.

“What looks like a fantastic concept will all of a sudden disintegrate within a couple of years because the facilities are just not up to scratch,” the coach said.

Cannons’ long-time junior girls AFL player Gabi Stanwix, one of 100 girls at the club, said funding delays to improve facilities were frustrating.

“Often I’d miss quite a few things just because I had to get changed somewhere else,” the teenager said of her 250-plus games with the club.

“The difference between the boys and the girls is so drastic,” Gabi said.

While GWS Giants’ women’s football star Nicole Barr said the launch of the AFLW competition last year had sparked massive interest in the code for girls.

“It’s important that the facilities continue to improve and I know AFL NSW is working really hard to ensure the best programs and infrastructure are in place for the next generation of boys and girls coming through.”

The club has proposed a $5 million upgrade to the oval that will providing appropriate facilities for women and to resurface the uneven ground to make it safer for all young players. It would also serve junior athletics and cricket.

Cameron said protecting kids with a safe playing surface was also a priority.

The 256-game Western Bulldogs and Richmond player – now a father of two boys and a girl – shared the safety concern.

“The dirt patches all across this ground are so unsafe for ankles and knees,” the AFL mentor said.

“There are probably 15 to 20 (divots) across the ground.”

Cameron, the junior club’s players, parents, volunteers, and senior AFL women’s stars agree that the kids deserves better.

A Cannons club spokesman said a $2 million funding shortfall and further unfulfilled funding promises threatened to stall construction on the second stage of the proposal.

Local federal government MP Craig Laundy promised $1.9m to overhaul the oval in the lead-up the last federal election, he said.

Minister Laundy confirmed $500,000 as a contribution to install field lights, electronic scoreboard and storage rooms as a first stage.

He is non-committal on the remaining $1.4 million but the former Turnbull government minister suggested more funding to sports clubs in Sydney’s inner west, including the Cannons, was on the horizon.

“I’m looking forward to making further significant announcements about sporting grants over the coming weeks and months.”

The club received $230,000 from the State Government two years ago to help complete the first stage of St Lukes Oval development.

But it claims promises of a multi-million dollar State boost to complete the vision have stalled. 

NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said his department was pulling its weight on suburban sports ground support, when contacted this week. He suggested the door remained open for the Cannons club to secure more funding.

The cash from the two governments was “critical” to the project’s future, said Cannons’ strategy head Jeremy Stanwix.

“Surely (the girls) have waited long enough to get access to facilities that are appropriate for their participation in our great sport,” he said.

Meanwhile, The Australian Football League said the state’s jump in junior numbers including young girls and that some facilities were challenged by the demands on use.

The NSW/ACT AFL said it had earmarked $250,000 for the St Lukes’ Oval project and remains confident it will go ahead with the support of the federal and state government, local council and the club.


Photos by Alan Nunez

Round 13: U13-2

A Message in a Battle

Canada Bay Cannons U13-2 v Pennant Hills Demons
Ern Holmes Oval

Match report by Coach Stephen, pics via Sonia

After three weeks off, the away game against the Pennant Hills Demons felt like the start of a new season. With school holidays all over the Cannons were back at full strength and the coaches urged all the players to send a clear message to the rest of the competition. That the Cannons will be a force to be reckoned with at the pointy end of the season!

Winning the toss gave the Cannons the opportunity to capitalize on the strong breeze, but it was the Demons who won the first ruck contest and placed immediate pressure on the Cannons back line. The Demons had plenty of height and plenty of self belief with their leg speed and ball movement looking impressive early. With only one spot separating them on the ladder the Cannons would most certainly be in for a tough battle!

It took a couple of minutes to settle in, perhaps the legacy of three weeks off footy, but slowly and surely the Cannons started to find their groove! Mounting pressure from the midfield kept the ball locked in the forward 50 and it was only a matter of time before the scoreboard started ticking over. The gusty breeze made kicking difficult but the Cannons started building momentum until a ball lost in the bushes meant valuable wind assisted playing time ticked away.

Against the breeze in the second quarter was always going to be much harder but this is exactly when the Cannons decided to send a message to the competition – that they can play smarter footy. Several of the boys had watched the Giants/St. Kilda game together and perhaps this inspired them as they linked together handball chains to run the ball out of defence and into attack.

The team motto is the coach’s “PET” expression.  “ ..every Player….every Effort… every Time” and this was never more evident than in that second quarter. It was ferocious tackling, dedicated second efforts but most significantly it was the teamwork that impressed. The Cannons were at time clinical when they moved the ball down the field, running in waves, shepherding and placing immense pressure on the Demons.  Led by Jayden the backs were solid in defence with Killa and Matt P consistently beating their opponents to the ball and repelling any sniff of a comeback.

By half time the Cannons had extended their lead and were brimming with confidence. That confidence, coupled with the strong breeze, allowed the Cannons to seal the game in the third quarter and put the result beyond doubt. At ¾ time the coaches swapped the team around and gave the players a simple message. “Go out there and impress us with what you can do”. Max accepted the challenge with a great cameo in the centre and reliable backman Eathn relished his opportunity down forward slotting a beauty of a goal.

It was an overall team effort but there were a few standouts. Daniel usually has a significant height advantage in the ruck but they breed them tall at Penno pushing Dan to unveil another level of speed and agility to dominate the ruck contests. His second efforts were outstanding – it’s not often you see ruck man roving their own work! The midfield was electric with Coops and Damo combining everywhere on the ground and amassing possessions seemingly at will. JB and Woody were solid up forward, particularly overhead, and Jack’s roving goals were a highlight. Jye’s second efforts made this game his best for the season and Fraser should take a lot of confidence from a display of outrunning and outmarking  his opponent.

There was plenty of flair with Husky’s “checkside banana from deep in the pocket” contender for goal of the year as well as JA’s trademark candy selling and evasive turns. Mattie B, fired up after an  early free kick for holding the ball, provided another reliable in and under gutsy contribution.

It is a very exciting time for the Cannons as players continue to develop. Stewie is back from injury finding peak fitness at exactly the right time of the year and Lachie’s workrate increases each week. Mattie G’s precision kicks out of defence are as reliable as Dallas’s overhead marks and all show clear evidence of how well the skill level has developed.

As a unit the Cannons show a grittiness and commitment in every contest and although the next few weeks will present challenges for the Cannons, no doubt they will battle it out and send an ominous message to the rest of the competition: The Cannons mean business!

U12YG: Round 10

Canada Bay Cannons U12 Youth Girls v Maroubra Saints Red

Heffron Park, Round 10

Match report by Chris; pictures by Andrew

A crisp morning down at Heffron Park for Round 10.  The girls were without their favourite girl Gabi in the coaching box and it was Lenny who got them up and training a good 45 mins before the game.  The game got off to a slow start with the girls taking a little while to settle into the game and get their positions locked in.  Molly was strong in moving the ball forward and launched a booming kick to put it through the posts for our first goal.  Tahnee at the other end was magnificent in her defence and didn’t let the 3 on 1 attack from the Saints reduce her impact.  We kept the Saints to just 1 point in the first quarter and went to the break slightly in front.

Second quarter and the girls were stepping up their defence all over the ground.  Marking up was improving but still more work to be done in training on the girls shepherding to help move the play along.  They tightened up around the middle and for all the force that the Saints players brought the Cannons continued to match and overpower in their defensive attack.  Molly and Hannah worked hard to get the ball free and after a good passage of play to get the ball down into our goal square the ever reliable Molly set up and kicked another 2 goals to nudge us out in front.  Hannah stepped up again and put her body on the line with a smother that landed right in her belly – she doubled down almost winded but with all of her might stood up and got right back into the game.  Her spirit lifted all of the girls and they went into half time well ahead on the score board.

Third quarter was goal less for both teams.  Incredibly strong in the defence from both teams and clear demonstrations from a number of players with their marking and second attempts in their desire to keep the Saints from scoring.  Tahnee, Katie, Catriona, India, Ruby, Molly and all the team working hard to step up and bring a united defence front to the Saints team who continued to push hard.

Regrettably our last quarter wasn’t a lot to write home about.  The girls took their eye off the game for a minute and found themselves with the Saints assembling quickly to put on 3 quick goals.  Our girls lifted again and pushed hard to bring the ball down into our goal square and we worked hard to recover ourselves but alas didn’t get the chance to level ourselves back. We remembered the old saying that it always takes 4 quarters to win a game and I’m sure the girls took some valuable lessons away from the game.

U13-3: Round 8 Match Report

Canada Bay Cannons U13-3 v Maroubra Saints (again)

Round 8, Heffron Park

Match report by John

After last week’s maiden win against the Maroubra Saints, I didn’t think anything could top that awesome victory.

However I was proven wrong, when our Cannons ventured out to a wild and windy Heffron Park to take on the Saints for a second time.

And what a heart stopper it was as our courageous Cannons held off a determined Saints outfit by the narrowest of margins (4-6-30 to 4-6-29).

It was a game worth bottling as both teams gave it their all and had the spectators biting their nails and one team manager reaching for his blood pressure medication.

With a strong wind at their backs, the Saints got the jump on us in the first quarter and took a commanding 20 -7 lead at the break.

It was a quarter where, despite running into a gale force breeze, we had field position but couldn’t capitalise on our chances. Seconds from the quarter time break, the Saints snuck in a goal. If anything this would have deflated any other team, but not our “never say die” Cannons.

Coach Andrew gave his usual quarter time rev up and with the wind behind our backs in the second quarter, our boys dug deep to post another goal and 2 behinds and managed to keep the Saints scoreless for the entire quarter.

At the halftime break our Cannons were down by only 5 points.

Going into the 3rd quarter and running into the breeze was going to be a tough call for the boys, but the Cannons came out with all guns blazing (pardon the pun).

They tackled and scrambled hard in defence and gave the Saints no respite.

Probably the goal of the day was a result of great lead up work from Nirvan who got a brilliant pass onto Filip who nailed a valuable goal.

At the final break we were down by 6 points.

With the wind behind us in the final quarter, the game was there to be won.

The Saints came at us hard in that final quarter and were poised to win. But our tackling and defence were relentless.

There was one vital play in the dying seconds, where the Saints came close to scoring only to see Daniel V getting a clearing kick out of the danger zone.

This pretty much summed up the effort of our Cannons.

That quarter saw the boys lift a gear and rally hard to post 7 unanswered points to snatch an amazing one point victory.

The goals may not have been forthcoming, but in trying conditions the boys just never gave up the fight! And I have never seen such great scrambling defence and hunger for the ball!

I can’t recall managing any team that was able to win a game despite being behind at every break and keeping the opponents scoreless, not for one but two quarters. A truly memorable victory with so many highlights.

Firstly well done to Harry on managing a hat trick of goals and to Filip on his 3rd quarter pearler.

Coach Andrew once again had a heck of time trying to work out best on ground; even the parents doing the voting had the same problem.

ALL of our Cannons had their best game ever, so the man of the match could have gone to any of the boys.
To Phoenix, Patrick R, Patrick C, Oliver Richards, Finn, Chris, Jacob, Ollie S, Jamie, Roan, Lucian and Rameez:
You boys are to be commended on your games. The best game ever, especially when it came to tackling and chasing hard for the ball. You would all be worthy winners for best on ground.

To our second runner up, well done Harry on your hat trick and getting amongst the attack, great stuff.
Jack Scott was a tower of strength in the ruck and constantly won the centre bounce, another awesome game Jack who played the last two quarters under duress (asthma). Gutsy effort Jack.

Congratulations to Nirvan on taking out best on ground. Best game ever, not only set up that vital goal for Filip, but tackled and chased hard all day, well done!

It was a game where the boys showed great pride in the Cannons jersey and belted out the team song twice.
Even our injured Cannons watching from the sidelines joined in the celebrations.

U13-3: Match Report Round 7

Canada Bay Cannons U13-3 v Maroubra Saints

Round 7, St Luke’s Oval

Match report by John

A maiden win for Season 2018!

Last Sunday our Cannons came out firing with an emphatic victory over the Maroubra Saints. It was sweet revenge as the Saints gave us a touch up in the season opener.

The first quarter was very much an arm wrestle, which saw the Saints go in at the break leading  7-1. An unimpressed coach Andrew, gave the boys a good old fashion rev up at the break.

This certainly worked wonders as the boys fired up, posting 27 unanswered points in a dominant second quarter. While it was good to post the points, the most pleasing aspect for Coaches Andrew & Ben, was the unrelenting and scrambling defence that kept the Saints  scoreless for the quarter.

With the wind in their sails, our boys maintained the momentum from the second quarter and posted another 3 goals. At the three quarter break, the scoreboard showed a substantial lead.

Yours truly was telling the boys NOT to look at  the scoreboard and stressing that the game goes for four quarters not three.  Mind you, these were the words coming from a nervous and excited team manager.

The last quarter was a dour affair. Although we only posted one goal, we managed to keep our opponent’s scoreless.

It was certainly a memorable victory, based on pure guts and determination.

Well done to our goal scorers, Harry, Daniel V, Jack, Filip, Lucian & Rohan.

While it is good to acknowledge the great goals, all this would not be possible if it wasn’t for the hard work & defence of our backs. The midfield also played their part in getting the ball into the forward pocket. If anything Sunday’s victory was a  TEAM effort.

Coach Andrew was ecstatic with the victory and acknowledged all the boys on their effort.

The second runner up went to Ollie S, who once again was a tower of strength in the back line, constantly repelling any goal attacks from the Saints forwards. The first runner up went to Rohan who had an awesome day with the boot, kicking a couple of goals and unlucky not to have posted a few more.

The man of the match award went to Anthony.

Andrew mentioned that this was Anthony’s best game of the year as he was in the thick of things in both attack and defence.

While we have acknowledged the runners up and man of the match, on the back of an awesome victory it would be remiss of me not to mention ALL of our Cannons , as they ALL had outstanding games!!

So Congratulations and well done: Jacob, Harry, Patrick C, Oliver R, Viren, Chris, Patrick R, Jack, Daniel V, James, Phoenix, Finn, Rameez,Lucian, Nirvan and Filip!!!!

A memorable victory indeed, hopefully we can build on this for the rest of the season.

U13-2: Match Report Round 7

SHOOSH because…

SHOOSH because our kids are watching

Yelling negative comments from the sidelines is never OK. It is modelling disrespect for authority and showing kids that it’s OK to respond to a mistake – by a player or by an umpire – with abuse. As a Club, we won’t tolerate it. SHOOSH!

SHOOSH because our kids are listening

But what if it is just conversational complaints? Stop and think. Are the umpires really biased, or just learning? Is the push in the back by an opponent “deliberate”, while the push in the back by our player just a mistake?

We may not like an opposing team culture, but we need to remember that all players and umpires are still learning, and that team officials are volunteers doing their best for the love of the sport.

Focusing on complaints about umpires and the opposition teaches kids that it is OK to blame others for the result of a game and show them disrespect. SHOOSH!

SHOOSH because we want football relationships to be positive

Not many kids will grow up to be professional AFL players but we’d like to encourage them to play, umpire, coach or be involved in AFL in some capacity for many years to come.

People swap Clubs; Clubs form merger teams; development, representative and academy teams are selected. Those kids being criticised as “cheats” may soon be your child’s team mates. That “biased” umpire may one day mentor your team. That “dirty” team official? Meet your new coach.

Let’s make work to make AFL fun, and football relationships positive. SHOOSH!

SHOOSH because there’s a right way to address wrong behaviour

Sometimes, there will be legitimate concerns about a player, an umpire, a parent or official. During a game, the team manager (and only the team manager) can approach the ground manager, who will then decide whether it’s an issue that needs monitoring and/or intervention.

Coaches also have access to a form to provide constructive feedback on umpiring, which directly informs umpire training sessions.

And if you ever have specific complaints after an AFL game, please contact our Club. If warranted, we’ll take it further on your behalf.


U13-2 Cannons: Round 4 Match Report