|Written by Bluesafc.ca|
|Sunday, 15 March 2009 03:46|
The Central Blues were founded in late 2005 by Bruce Parker and Rob Chapman who saw the need for an Australian Rules Football team based in the heart of downtown Toronto. In its short 4 year history the club has rapidly developed a reputation of being an extremely social and welcoming club, while at the same time being an extremely competitive side in the OAFL, with the club finishing 4th overrall in the 2008 season.
Year 1 - 2006:
Officially entering the Ontario Australian Football League (OAFL) in 2006, the Blues made steady improvements throughout the season with a rookie squad but were unable to notch up their first win, finishing the season in bottom place with a 0-12 record. However, the season was not without reward with two players winning the OAFL Rookie of the Year award and one player selected into OAFL All-star team.
Year 2 - 2007:
With a season under their belt, the Blues continued to improve in the 2007 season, managing their first win in club history in a nail biter against the Guelph Gargoyles by one point. The Blues would then go on to score one more victory for the year, again finishing in bottom place but with a 2-12 record and some very promising signs for the future. Again the Blues received recognition with two players selected into the OAFL All-star team as well the Assistant Coaching position.
Year 3 - 2008:
After a strong preseason training and a successful recruitment campaign, the Blues got off to a slow start to the 2008 season, losing the first three games. However, the Blues then won 8 of the next 10 games to finish the regular season in 5th place earning a finals/postseason birth for the first time in their short history. The Blues then went on to defeat the Guelph Gargoyles in their first finals match before losing in the semi finals to the Broadview Hawks, finishing the year in fourth place overall with a 9-6 record. Among the highlights for the season was the establishment of a ‘reserves’ team which competed against the Hawks ‘reserves’ team on a regular basis, a 77 point win against the High Park Demons in which the Blues scored more than 100 points for the first time, and the first finals appearance and finals win. The Blues were again represented in the OAFL All-star team by earning two playing and the Assistant Coach position. Furthermore, 5 Blues players (the most from any one club in Canada) were selected for the Northwind team that represented Canada in the International Cup in Melbourne, Australia. Canada went on to finish 6th overrall in the 16 team competition. Following the footy season, the Blues celebrated their most successful season in history with their annual Presentation Night, AFL Grand Final Party and Footy Trip which saw 25 players attend a long weekend of celebrations in sunny Las Vegas.
Year 4 - 2009:
The Blues continued climb their steep learning curve as one of the OAFL's youngest clubs. The 2009 Campaign saw the Blues struggle to maintain consistency. However with a new coach (Jaye Macumber) at the helm and new game-plan there would always be some teething issues. Dispite the inconsistent season the club managed to string enough games together to finish with a record of 6-8 to finish 6th on the ladder at the end of the regular season. This saw the club scheduled to face a resurgent 3rd placed Toronto Dingos - who had easily defeated the Blues in their Round 9 clash (74-28). Despite being long shots to win this game the Blues surprised all once again knocking out a much favoured opponent in the first round of finals football. The Blues defeating the Dingos 61-31 to book a spot into the club's first ever Preliminary Final. Standing in the way was the undefeated 1st placed 2008 Premiers Etobicoke Kangaroos. To play the Roos anywhere is a tough ask - let alone playing the Roos on their home turf. The Blues were always in over their heads in this match - with the well rested Roos (who had a bye during the first round of finals) over-running the Blues after a tight 1st quarter. For the second year in a row, the Bluss finished 4th placed overall.
The Blues Division 2 side playing in the first OAFL sanctioned season surprised all to finish 1st on the ladder (on superior percentage over the Quebec Saints). The club's first Div 2 final would turn out to be one to forget as the Saints showed their pedigree with a resounding 103 victory to end the Blues Div 2 campaign. The Saints would go on to easily win the first ever Div 2 Premiership and take home the Mike Pyke Cup to Quebec.
Following the end of season, the club held their annual Presentation Night which saw Daniel Andersen and Chris Vella win the Club's Div 1and 2 Best & Fairest Awards respectively. The club's 2009 End of Season trip destination was Austin (Texas) which saw the players compete against the University of Texas girls volleyball team, as well as receiving a tour of the campus.
Year 5 - 2010:
The 2010 season will go down as being the year of the Blues as both the club's Division 1 and 2s made it into their first ever OAFL Grand Finals.
The Blues Div 1 side enjoyed its best ever regular season by finishing 2nd on the ladder at the end of the regular season with a remarkable 12-2 record, both losses were inflicted by an undefeated Toronto Eagles side who finished top of the ladder - before bowing out of the finals in straight sets losing to the Blues and Dingos in consecutive finals weeks. The Blues capitalized on the top 2 ranking in defeating the Eagles before enjoying a week off while the remaining finals contestants battled it out for the remaining preliminary finals. The Blues would have to defeat a spirited Etobicoke Kangaroos outfit who was 3rd overall at the end of the regular season before earning their spot in its first ever OAFL Grand Final berth. In front of a big OAFL crowd and in wet and cold conditions the Blues had to withstand a relentless Dingos attack who controlled much of the play in the first three quarters before the Blues were able to run away in the 4th quarter to win its first ever Lionel Conacher Cup.
The Blues Div 2 side in only its second season since start up was a tremendous success. An already deep Blues playing list, supplemented by some serious talent from the Blues Womens Team Program meant that the club's Div 2 was one of the most consistent sides in the competition as the Blues 2s finished 3rd overall at the end of the regular season. After losing its first finals game in 2009, and again in 2010 the Blues 2s were desperate to improve on their finals record. A big win over the Rebeldogs (Dingos & Rebels composite Div 2 side) the Blues were able to earn its first ever Div 2 Grand Final berth. Unfortunately they were up against the strongest Div 2 side in the competition, the Qeubec Saints. Despite the valiant efforts of the Blues 2s, the Saints were too good on the day as they went on to win back to back Mike Pyke Cups.
Following the season, the clubs' annual football trip is scheduled for New Orleans. It's awards presentation night will be held on Friday 22 October 2010.
Year 6 - 2011:
The Blues start their pre-season training from January 2011, with indoor sessions at the Our Lady of Lourdes school gymnasium (Sherbourne & Gerrard). Once the snow thaws the Blues will be back outside training in downtown Toronto at the University of Toronto backfield (cnr of Hoskin Ave and Tower Rd) on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm. On Thursday evenings after training you will also find us at our home pub, Gabby's (near cnr of Bay & Bloor) enjoying a delicious feed and a few pints of FOSTER'S (the clubs major sponsor).
As always the club is chomping at the bit to get stuck into the next season. For the Blues, the 2011 OAFL season could not start soon enough.
JOIN THE CLUB, BLEED BLUE.
Interested in joining the Central Blues? We welcome anyone and everyone to join our family. Whether you would like to come out for a kick or volunteer to help out around the club or just to come out and cheer on the Navy Blues, we would love to have you on board.
For more information on how you can get involved, please send an email to email@example.com.
|Best on Ground:||Dan Lock|