Julie Burke - My Redan Story
Where did you grow up and what are your earliest memories playing netball?
I grew up in Edenhope. I began playing Netball at the age of approximately 10 years of age. Edenhope was in the Kowree Naracoorte league, therefore our games, were mostly played in South Australia.
What are some of the highlights of your playing career and were you fortunate enough to play in any premiership sides?
I played Netball for approximately 35 years and coached for approximately 40 years. I have been lucky enough to have played and coached in approximately 25 premierships throughout my career.
My greatest achievement in Netball was in 1996, when I coached the Wimmera Mallee Netball Region, Open representative team to win the Grand final in the Mobil County Cup. It was a competition created by Netball Victoria to allow Victorian Netballers to play Netball at an elite level.
We were required to travel each weekend around Victoria competing against regions such as: Murray, Western , Gippsland, South Gippsland, Sunraysia, Ballarat, Diamond Valley, Casey , North Central.
The Grand final was played at Warragul against Diamond Valley. Would you believe the game was even televised which was great for Country representative Netball. Unfortunately netball Victoria was unable to sustain the costs and the competition was withdrawn the following year.
Who or what was it that convinced you to join Redan and what were your initial impressions of the club?
I was approached in 2004 to coach Redan when I moved to Ballarat for work. I had a meeting with Trudy Hawker and Kerry Moulthann and as my Dad played for them in the 1940’s I felt a real connection. My initial impressions were one of excitement as I had a young team to work with and five of the A grade players were girls that I had coached in Horsham.
Tell us about that first season in 2004 where the side made it through to the Grand Final only to fall to Sebastopol.
I believe the A grade Netball team of 2004, was the best in the competition that year. We were young, talented, versatile and our will to win at all costs, was unbelievable. Our hard work was rewarded with a place in the Grand final, but unfortunately we could not match Sebastopol’s finals experience on the day. It was a great thrill to have my daughter Brianna playing in the team.
How detrimental to your recruiting efforts back then was not having a netball court at the City Oval?
It was detrimental to the club not to have a Netball court at the City Oval. We had to train and play at Clarendon College and training was only one night a week in the basketball stadium. This made it, not only difficult to recruit new members, but also for the Football/Netballers to support each other on game day.
It is so important for clubs to have that family atmosphere which can only be achieved by being together and supporting each other on game day. I was rapt, last year, to see the netball facilities that are presently at the city oval.
What are some of your fondest memories of your time with Redan?
Some of my fondest memories at Redan were the fun times we had at the Den. Because of its size everyone mixed and everyone was inclusive. The football/Netball club had a great relationship. This was so important as many of our players, were University students and they needed that sense of belonging, as they were away from their families and friends and for some, it was their first time.
Have your coached elsewhere since moving on from Redan and if so, what have been some of your highlights?
After I finished coaching Redan in 2006, I didn’t coach again till 2014 due to work commitments. I moved back to Horsham in 2012 and in 2014 I coached the Horsham Demons in the Wimmera league. A huge highlight of that year was me coaching the Netball to a Premiership and my Son Jordyn Burke, (whom is currently coaching Ballarat North City ), coached the senior Football Team to their twelfth Premiership.
Tell us about some of the people who made the biggest impact on Redan Netball while you were with the club.
The person who had the biggest impact on me, whilst I was at Redan, was Jo Jess. Jo was the team manager, property officer, Scorer, Mentor and managed any other job that needed to be done. I remember receiving a call from Jo advising me that we had to meet at Saxon House on Monday night after the preliminary final in 2006.
I thought we were going out to dinner somewhere. Jo proceeded to tell me, I had been reported and was required to appear at Saxon House to answer the charge of bringing the game into disrepute for questioning the umpire after the game. Jo and I fronted up to the tribunal, which gave the Mad Monday reported footballers a great laugh. In fact they wanted to come in and represent me.
I was found guilty and received a severe reprimand. Not that I’m proud of this achievement but Redan have the honour of having the First and only one, at this stage, Netball Coach reported in the BFL.
Do you feel the advent of the Women's AFL will have a positive or negative impact on Netball participation?
I think women’s AFL football, is a great competition. I believe it will not have a negative impact on Netball participation. Competition for Netball, begins when girls are around ten years of age which provides a Junior pathway through to Senior Netball.
That opportunity will not be the same for girl’s football as Clubs do not have the numbers, facilities and playing times, to field both Netball and football teams within their clubs. I believe girls football will remain at an elite competition level, therefore offering limited opportunities for girls to participate.
What is your view on the new elite level competition (Suncorp Super Netball)?
Suncorp Super Netball is a great ambassador for Netball. It allows people of all ages to watch these super athletes and inspires, up and coming Netballers, to strive and reach that level. It is a wonderful learning tool for coaches, to watch and learn new strategies and training drills, thus, allowing them to take them back to their clubs to teach players a better way to execute the skills of netball.
Tell us what you are up to these days and do you still have an involvement with Netball?
Unfortunately I do not have any participation in Netball these days. I have taken up that most frustrating game they call Golf. I actively follow my son Jordyn in football. He has a four year old daughter, whom I hope, one day will play Netball. Who knows I may come out of retirement and again coach netball.
I wish Redan Netball/Football club good luck for the future. I will always remember my time at the club, with fond memories of a wonderful family club.