AFL pathways

St Luke’s Oval Development Update

Canada Bay Cannons, Concord Giants and Drummoyne Power are pleased to update you on the next phase of funding and greenspace development of St Lukes Oval.

The Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund (GSSFF) has recently announced a grant of $939,000 as part of $1.89m in total funding from the Canada Bay Council and a contribution from AFL NSW/ACT.

The earliest this greenspace upgrade will occur will be July/August 2021, as there are considerable planning steps to be undertaken and dependent projects such as Concord Oval redevelopment.

The St Lukes Oval greenspace upgrade will include:

  • Final design,
  • Civil works including overall levelling and widening of the eastern/canal side of the field,
  • Drainage and irrigation, including council’s commitment to use of recycled water in the St Lukes precinct
  • Resurfacing with natural grass, and
  • Perimeter fencing.

The Council will be managing the project delivery, and there are a number of planning, procurement and contractual steps to be undertaken prior to construction beginning.

The clubs have been working with Canada Bay Council and AFL NSW/ACT to improve facilities and greenspace at St Lukes over the past four years.

  • Phase I of the project included new field lighting, LED scoreboard, complete renovation of canteen and two change-rooms, including substantial contribution from Concord Giants and Drummoyne Power clubs from our funds. These have made a huge difference to St Lukes, and the greenspace upgrades will be a fabulous improvement.
  • Phase II is focused on greenspace upgrade as outlined above, and
  • Phase III of the project will include further upgrades to the facilities, including new disabled/men’s/women’s toilets, permanent garage storage and significant upgrade to proposed second floor club room and viewing facilities.

We’ll be working closely with council on the Phase II development, and look forward to updating you on this huge step forward in improving greenspace at St Lukes Oval.

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.

Looking after our juniors

You know we’re in safe hands as a footy code when you have a story like this to pass on about the generosity of our young coaches and his players.

Shout out to Coach Lachie Bennetts from the Canada Bay Cannons U17 team, who has also put up his hand to coach the U17 Representative team this year.

For those that don’t know Lachie, he is a young guy who played as a junior with Drummoyne Power, graduating to senior footy in 2014. He’s played with both Balmain Tigers and Sydney University and has coached for the Cannons for the past few years.

Trials for the U17 rep team were held recently at St Luke’s – at the same time as the regular U11 training session for our junior Club, Concord Giants.

The U17 boys taking part in the trial – some of them Cannons but many from other City clubs – dedicated some of their session to one-on-one skills training with the U11 Giants kids, followed by a short scratch match.

Lachie and squad, you’ll never know how much it meant to those kids! Many of them are new to AFL, and they’ve had a pretty rough start to the season – they’ve got giant hearts and give it their all, but have yet to record a win.

You really lifted their spirits and showed them what to aim for… thanks guys!

St Luke’s Oval Funding Promise


Junior AFL clubs say a promised $1.4m funding boost – to continue the redevelopment of St Luke’s Oval in Concord – will help them meet increasing demand for greenspace in part boosted by strong growth in youth girls AFL.

The clubs – Drummoyne Power, Concord Giants and the Canada Bay Cannons – have welcomed the funding pledge, announced by federal Labor candidate for Reid, Sam Crosby, and have called on the federal Liberal Party, and candidate Fiona Martin, to match the commitment.

The AFL clubs that share St Luke’s Oval have no political position but rather want to work with all levels of government across the political spectrum to finish the refurbishment of, and improvements to, St Luke’s Oval.

The City of Canada Bay has budgeted an additional $660,000 for the project in 2020/21, AFL NSW/ACT has previously promised funds of just over $200,000 and the State Government has contributed $230,000.

The clubs are calling on New South Wales Minister for Sport John Sidoti to continue backing the project and support the clubs’ application for $1m grant from the next round of Great Sydney Sports Facility funding.

“There is enormous pressure on greenspace, in part due to the number of girls taking up footy for the first time now that pathways to AFL Women’s have opened,” said Milan Serovich, the President of Drummoyne Power/Canada Bay Cannons.

“In 2015, the Cannons fielded five youth teams – all of them boys. Today we have 14 Cannons teams – five of them are girls only teams. Our clubs are bursting at the seams.”

While there have been some works to improve the facility, Concord Giants President Jamie Reeves said more needs to be done to ensure the AFL precinct is capable of hosting all games and training from U5 through to youth and youth girls, in one convenient location.

“It is particularly important to upgrade the playing surface,” he said, with the club favouring a durable grass/hybrid grass surface.

Another important aspect of the upgrade is new change room facilities. “At the moment, when we have both girls and boys playing, we are seeing teams – particularly girls’ teams – forced to use second rate toilet facilities to change,” Jamie said.

Round One Draw

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:

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

Concord AFL Camp: July School Holidays

AFL Camps

If you are looking for some school holiday camps to keep your AFL skills sharp during the two week bye, this option is at our home ground, and endorsed by the Cannons’ own Dean Lee. Suitable for U10 Youth Girls, U12 Youth Girls and U12s.



























Download the flyer (AFL Camp – Concord July Holidays) or head across to the Super Sports Camp page for bookings.

We’re in it for the kids

We’re in it for the kids
We love that spectators are invested in the outcome of their child’s games, but negative comments from the sidelines won’t be tolerated.

In competitive grades, teams can even be docked premiership points because of poor behaviour by players, team officials or spectators.

You are not the coach
Unless you have put up your hand to coach a team and you’re wearing a blue bib, you’re not the coach. Don’t try to be. Your instructions from the sidelines aren’t helping.

You are not the umpire 
The umpires are human. They are also very often under the age of 18. That means they are CHILDREN. They’re also learning, so cut them some slack. What if it was YOUR child umpiring? How would you want other parents on the sideline to treat them?

You are a role model
Your behaviour teaches kids what is acceptable on the sporting field and what is not.Don’t want them to be bad sports? Then don’t BE a bad sport.

The results don’t matter. 
Really, they don’t.

We want kids to enjoy their footy. Only a tiny fraction of players will go on to play AFL at an elite level, so let them have fun.

Whether the umpire makes good calls or not, in the scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that your child learns to respect the authority of the coach, respect the umpire, respect their team-mates and respect their opposition.

One of the reasons we encourage our children to play sport is because we recognise that sport is a great developer of character. Let’s just make sure we’re doing all we can to ensure that character development is positive.