Suse Frazer - My Redan Story
Did you play sport growing up and what are some of your earliest memories and highlights?
I always preferred watching sport rather than playing it, still do! Growing up I spent my weekends at White Flat where my two older brothers played for Golden Point FC. They were pretty handy players back then and I loved watching them play, l rarely missed a game.
Over the years Dad was on the committee in various roles and Mum would help run the canteen, she couldn’t watch the games as she found it too rough but I loved it.
Being younger I trained for nearly an entire season at White Flat with the U12 boys at Golden Point before I got up the courage to actually play my first game. It didn’t bother me being the only girl in the team but I was devastated that no one would tackle me or knock me over because I was a girl.
I kicked the team's only goal and got the Maccas award. I had my interview for Loreto the following weekend and at the time (1989), I was too embarrassed to tell them I played footy as I thought they wouldn’t let me in if I wasn’t lady like! We played school netball on Saturday mornings as there wasn’t any junior BFNL netball or girls football back then.
Who or what was it that drew you to Redan and what were your initial impressions of the club?
We didn’t have a family connection to Redan but the kids school friends were all playing at Redan so we took them to the Western Oval to train. We already knew a few of the parents through school and they were all lovely, Cattas (Justin Cately) and Richo (John Richards) were the first people at the club to introduce themselves, they both love footy and a chat and were really welcoming. Yorky (Jason York), the clubs trainer was also there - I remembered him from his time at Golden Point all those years ago!
At the time the club’s facilities certainly weren’t as good as many of the other clubs in the league, at that stage there wasn’t even a netball court. The canteen definitely wasn’t as fabulous as it is today.
However everyone involved at the club were definitely there to ensure the kids all had fun. The atmosphere was fabulous, there was always a sausage sizzle and a soft drink for the kids after training and it just felt like a great place to be.
What have been some of the highlights watching your children play at Redan over the years?
Maxy our youngest was desperate to play games rather than do Friday night Auskick. He had to train for a few years before he was old enough to play. The night before his first game I went into his room to make sure he was organised, he had his jumper, shorts, socks and boots laid out on the ground next to his bed and was sound asleep with his mouthguard in. To this day he is super organised with his gear before each game!
Our daughter Fin played in Redan’s inaugural U12 girls football team in 2016. The game was played at Creswick and it was probably the most exciting and symbolic day of all our time at Redan. When the game finished all the players were cheered off the ground by the clubs U18 girls team who then followed them into the rooms and sang the club song with them. That group of girls went on to win the premiership that season and again in 2017, 2018 and 2019 which has been incredible.
Darbs has also played in two winning grand finals, the first back in 2016 with the U14 ressies side and last seasons U17 Reserves.
To see kids play their first games of netball and football, particularly the younger siblings that you’ve known for years is super rewarding. After watching them being dragged to training and all the games to watch their brothers and sisters early every Sunday morning, season after season, it's great to watch them finally arrive in their Redan uniforms excited to play for the first time.
Can you take us through some of the roles you’ve had with Redan and how did you first become involved?
When our children first started playing with Redan we lived 25 minutes out of town so rather than go home while they were training I’d wait around until they’d finished. I really enjoy meeting new people and there were always other parents there to talk to which is where I met Leo Curran - who was junior director at the time.
He encouraged me to get involved so I volunteered as a team manager role for the U10s football. I then joined the committee which I stayed on for six years and assisted with player registrations.
We’ve always been fortunate to have had strong leaders in Leo, Sleepy (Jamie Sleep), Brett (McKinnis), Jodie (Crelin) and now Obes (Anthony O'Brien). There’s so many people doing loads of work behind the scenes with organising jumpers, presentation nights, junior discos, trophies, meal nights, running the bar, canteen, fundraisers, sausage sizzles etc so like many others I have always just tried to assist where I can.
Bogan Bingo in 2019 was a tremendous success, what was involved with setting that up and what did you enjoy most about the night itself?
The Bogan Bingo Show is run by professional hosts so it was a great opportunity for everyone to just turn up and enjoy the entertainment without the committee and volunteers having the pressure of running the night.
We had an abundance of support and it was a terrific fundraiser for our club.
All 200 tickets for the show were sold and we received generous donations from Redan families and businesses to use for raffles and prizes. It was held well after the season had finished so It was a great opportunity for us all to come back to the club and have a night out without having to worry about getting to the Netball and Football the next morning.
While some clubs have their junior and senior ovals and courts at the same precinct, the Western Oval and City Oval are separated. Do you see that as a disadvantage or are there ways it can be beneficial?
While it would be great to have both ovals and courts at the same venue especially with the new U11 and U9 structures and the rapidly growing female football competition we simply don’t have that luxury. I’m sure those trying to structure training times to suit everyone would find it quite difficult but as a whole the club and the coaches always find a way to make it work predominantly with one oval and one court.
The junior kids get the opportunity to play at the City Oval usually 3-4 times a year. It’s a much bigger complex than the Western so there’s always an air of excitement when we host at the City. The City is super impressive with its magnificent oval and grandstand - it also gives the kids a glimpse of what footy and netball will be like when they transition from the 17s to the 19s.
The intimacy of the Western Oval and the ever improving facilities over the years makes it a wonderful place for our junior players and families.
While Covid has presented much greater challenges to people’s lives than the absence of community sport, that lack of connection still is real and felt by many. How have you coped without football and netball this year?
The lack of connection is very real. When you have several children in different teams you all spend a lot of time at the club, so to not see your footy-netty club friends for an entire year is really disappointing. It’s the incidental interactions that you miss.
What football and netball will look like for our juniors and seniors in 2021 is still unknown. I certainly hope we can all gather together as a sporting community safely again.
Your husband Rob is also heavily involved with the club, can you outline some of his roles over the years at Redan?
Like many parents at our club Rob was always one of the “go to” parents, whatever you needed he would just happily do! He’d always arrive early to help set up, time keep, umpire, and still be there at the end of the day to help pack up. In 2017 he took on the Junior Football Coordinator role along With Darren Broadbent and has been a fabulous addition to the junior committee and a great support to our past and present Junior Directors
The car ride home following children’s sport can be a great opportunity to connect with your child. What do you think is the key with these conversations?
Ha oh dear...next question! My kids are resilient so I just go with brutal honesty- I’m sure they’re not really listening to me or valuing my constructive criticism anyway!
What do you see as some of the main aspects that draws new families to our club?
Redan FNC is unique. We have both our ovals and netball courts in the middle of the city making it an exciting and accessible place to be. Redan have a great reputation for exceptional coaching and development programs and is affectionately known as the family club.
Some of our junior teams have had players from up to 15 different primary schools which gives the kids the opportunity to meet friends outside their regular circles. We are certainly a diverse and inclusive club and attract players from all over the region along with interstate boarders.
Redan are able to offer football for both girls and boys along with a fabulous netball program. Over the years our committees, coaches, runners, mentors, trainers and volunteers have all gone above and beyond to ensure Redan provides a safe, fun, family friendly atmosphere for all our new and existing players and their families to enjoy.
What are you most proud of in terms of the work you have put in for Redan over the years?
I’m not sure if I’d call it work but being a part of the grand final week preparations is super exciting! Redan banners are very impressive with the Maroon and Gold and over the years the banner making baton has been passed from parents from age group to age group and we have had some rippers!
Grand Final week is an exciting time at the club. It brings a lot of the kids, their parents and siblings together to decorate banners and make posters. It’s always stressful when the banner goes up and you just pray that it doesn’t blow apart before the players run through and then you worry that it’s got too much tape on it and the kids won’t be able to break through it.
What would you say to a parent wanting to get involved with a volunteer role at the club?
Just do it! We are so grateful for the friendships we have made during our time at Redan. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and contribute to the club.
The demands on volunteers are huge these days so if everyone can do just a little bit it helps share the load immensely. You can never have too many volunteers.
Redan’s committee (past and present) consists of great people doing fabulous things to ensure the club continues to be successful so don’t hesitate to roll up your sleeves and get involved, it’s exceptionally rewarding.
What advice would you have for the girls and boys starting their careers at Redan?
Work hard and have fun! Take the time to get to know your coaches and teammates and the volunteers at your club as you’ll have a lot of sport together over the years.