NSW/ACT Club of the Week: Kiama Power
By Brendan Day
For the Kiama Power Senior Australian Rules Football Club, success on and off the field comes naturally these days. The club’s First Grade side booked a place in the South Coast Australian Football League (AFLSC) Grand Final this past week whilst their home ground, Bonaira Oval, has recently undergone a project to install 100 LUX lights, enabling play at night.
But it wasn’t always this easy for Kiama. Formed in 2001, the club’s first six years were brutal, according to President Troy Gent.
“It was an older playing group, and they’d lose week in, week out, by hundreds of points,” he said.
The Power’s senior side was created to provide an opportunity for players from the club’s junior squads to move through the ranks, and the move started to pay dividends around 2008.
“The club had its first injection of junior players who had been playing since Under-9s that year, setting us up for years of strength and premiership glory,” Gent said.
2009 proved to be a landmark year for the Power, winning premierships in both of the AFLSC’s First and Reserve Grade Competitions.
The First Grade side repeated this feat in 2011, and have since won consecutive minor premierships in 2012 and 2013. For Gent, the club’s success is emblematic of Australian Football’s strong representation in what is rugby league heartland.
“In 2008, I noticed a number of people wearing AFL shirts at Kiama Leagues Club,” Gent said.
“As a new resident in Kiama, having come from Victoria, I was surprised to see AFL shirts in a rugby league-centric area.
“They informed me that they were from the local AFL club and, though I hadn’t played a game for ten years, I soon found myself at training and then playing my first game the following weekend.”
A member of the victorious 2009 Reserve Grade side, Gent became the Power’s Marketing Manager in 2010 before assuming the role of President the following year.
As President, Gent introduced a club motto of ’Respect, Responsibility and Ownership’ and established a three-year plan to implement these goals and strengthen the club’s culture.
2011 was focused on the concept of: “Respect of the town, our sponsors, the opposition, the umpires”, according to Gent.
“Year two saw responsibility as our theme, with players starting to be given active roles and responsibility within the club.
“Year three was about ownership and effectively becoming shareholders in the club and taking it into the future as older members, myself included, stepped aside.”
Gent believes this plan has reaped great rewards.
“Four years ago, we were struggling,” he said.
“Now, we are well established, have a great sponsorship base, and are positioned financially for the future with a strategic plan.
“We want to ensure a sound financial base for the future, and be seen as a respectable club that acts with dignity on and off the ground.”
Gent believes for Kiama Power and AFL to flourish on the South Coast, it needs to actively contribute to the community.
“The community is vital to our success and, being the poor cousins to rugby, league and soccer, we work hard to gain their respect through our behaviour and perception as a successful club,” Gent said.
Continuing to foster a strong junior player program is another necessity, according to Gent.
“We want to support them by achieving an environment that is safe, fun and family orientated,” he said.
“The change in culture, maturity of players, and solid foundation has the Kiama Power in place to succeed in the future.”