22 December 2013
The North Western Football Association held its Annual General Meeting on 2 December 2013, and
former President Kevin Jones was elected to replace Ian Drake, who did not seek re - election.
Ian Drake, told the meeting that after 14 years as the Rosebery Toorak FC delegate and the past
two years as the Association president, it was time to take a break from the constant travelling from
the West Coast. He leaves the NWFA in a sound financial position and ready to meet the challenges
of an uncertain economic climate on the North West Coast that has contributed to a business
community increasingly reining in sponsorship dollars and a declining pool of players.
The Executive for 2014 will include the former East Ulverstone FC president, Wylfred Wyllie and
NWFA Life Member Ted Van Overmeeren as the two Vice - Presidents.
Andrea Walsh and Peter King will continue as the secretary and treasurer respectively for next
Ray Masters and Brian Holloway were re - elected as Independent Delegates..
With player availability an increasing concern for all Coastal football bodies, the NWFA is likely to
adopt the NTFL policy of reducing the interchange bench for senior teams from four to three and is
re - examing the make up of the reserves competition.
2014 Season Opening Address by NWFA President Kevin Jones
After a two year break from NWFA football, Kevin Jones has returned to lead the State’s longest running
competition into its 120th year of existence.
He was the NWFA president for five years from 2007 to 2011 and has returned to replace the retiring Ian
Drake, with the future direction of the competition high on his agenda. “The future is what the NWFA is all
about,” he said. “It's about continuing what we believe is best for us, and it's also being prepared for the
unknown, ensuring the NWFA has the right approach to counter any issue that might confront us in the
Jones is well qualified to help shape the future of the NWFA. His presidency is complemented by his time
as an Independent Delegate under the chairmanship of Rick Rodman and as a panelist on the Independent
Tribunal. His interest in administration came from a grounding as a player for Burnie in the NWFU and
coaching in country associations, including a stint as the coach of NWFA representative sides. It was the
latter that prompted his interest in resurrecting the representative matches against the Darwin FA, after a
break of seven years. His enthusiasm proved infectious within the Senior and U23 teams with both winning
in three consecutive years from 2008. Representative football will continue this year and what is thought to
be a first will be played under lights at Ulverstone, on Friday night, June 6.
Within the NWFA, despite player availability being arguably the most immediate concern, Jones is adamant
it’s not all doom and gloom. “One has only to look through the player lists to see we have a competition that
is still in demand by the players,” he commented. “They are perhaps the best judges because they do not
want to play in a sub – standard environment. It is also reassuring to have former Statewide and NTFL
players comparing us favourably in terms of attendances.”
Such is the player acceptance of the NWFA, it drew comment from the NTFL president, Andrew Richardson,
at their season launch last week. He was reported in The Advocate as speaking on the issue of player
movement to country associations and commenting it was unfortunate, but simply a case of ‘that’s life’.
“The 18, 19 and 20 – year olds are the ones we didn’t want to lose,” he was reported to have said. “They are
the players that we want to stay in our competition. Hopefully these players will try out country football for a
year and then join us again in the near future.”
To foster that participation, Jones will be driving the need to maintain the reputation and integrity of the
NWFA. He wants to see the clubs and players maintain a high level of discipline both on and off the field.
“It’s important for each of the nine clubs to work together and communicate with each other,” he
emphasised. “While competitiveness on the field is part of football, off the field there must be respect and
a willingness to abide by the Code of Conduct.”
As part of that process Jones sees his role and that of the Executive and Committee, as nurturing what
has been given to the NWFA by preceding administrations. “We are merely custodians of the game,” he said.
“Our job is to develop what we have been given and when the time comes for us to hand over the reins, to
do our best to pass on something better than we received.”
18 May 2014
An era of NWFA football was recalled last week with the passing of a past president and Life Member,
George Vivian Foster. The tireless and dedicated servant presided over the Association during what some
may say was the heyday of Coastal country football. With crowds and media coverage to match those of
the then top tier NWFU, it was an experience that may never be repeated given the changing environment
of today’s society.
When George took over as the president in 1972 from W.M. “Mid” Ellings, who had an 11 year term in the
position from 1961 to 1971 inclusive, it was thought that record would never be broken. But broken it was.
In fact George was in the role for 22 years before passing on the baton to Keith Ives in 1995. The two
decades of leadership is the record that may never be broken.
In fact longevity was one of his strengths. His commitment to the NWFA was mirrored in his employment.
At the time of his retirement from Silverwood and Beck’s shopfitting and glass business in Devonport, he
was its longest serving employee, starting there as a 16 year old apprentice. He was described by
colleagues as a dedicated hard worker who enjoyed a challenge.
For the Late octogenarian dedication and hard work was also the key to success in sport administration.
He enjoyed working on the administration side of sport and believed anyone could do it – “You just had to
make the time,” he once said. Naturally being the president of three different organisations took up a lot of
his time and he had no hesitation in praising his wife Betty for her support.
Although most people have trouble finding the time to serve on one committee, George found time for
three initially, but when the time arrived for a slightly less hectic life style he had been involved in six
organisations and was presented with six Life Memberships. He wore the caps of president of not only the
NWFA, but also the Devonport Athletic Club and the North West Branch of the Australian Sportsmen’s
Football and cycling were brief sporting pursuits, but is remembered for his administration skills, a gift
inherited mainly from his Late father Bob, who was heavily involved in the administration of the Spreyton
Football Club. In the 1950’s George played for Spreyton before joining the committee for a decade and
becoming president for seven years. On taking over the reins of the NWFA he was not simply a
figurehead, but threw himself into the position with dedication and enthusiasm. He also took on the task
of NWFA media correspondent for local papers and radio and was the Association’s representative on
the Maidstone Park Development Committee. Hardly a Saturday went by without George dropping into
at least two of the games.
His drive and promotion of the NWFA contributed to its public acceptance to the extent that in 1986 the
Association had a bumper year in attendances and standard of the competition. Indeed, the crowd levels
were something of an embarrassment to the then peak body, the NWFU. George acknowledged, however,
there was a big gap in the difference between the two. “The professional approach is the major difference,”
he said. “There is a much more casual approach in the country.” That’s something that still holds true nearly
30 years on.
And although Coastal football is currently undergoing something of an evaluation with player availability and
club numbers being brought into focus, it’s as if nothing has changed since George Foster went through the
same challenges during his 22 year tenure.
An example was in 1984, when a meeting was held to gauge interest in the amalgamation of the Railton and
Elizabeth Town football clubs. The meeting discussed the future of both clubs and the possibility of an
amalgamation with Railton to form a team in the NWFA for the 1985 season.
Subsequently, Elizabeth Town was admitted in what George described as a big risk for the NWFA. “The
foresight of the NWFA was demonstrated when it became more competitive every game and added extra
interest,” he said.
One of his passions was to see youth engaged in sport, and perhaps not surprisingly his thoughts echo
many of those today. “One of the major problems of the past was that the younger brigade was prepared to
take life too easy and not put in the effort required,” he once remarked. “But those putting in the effort are
He saw sport as great value to the youth as character building. “The comradeship is also a big thing and
the people around them keep them involved in the sport,” he remarked. “People have got to get involved
and learn the ability to converse with other people around them, an important factor considering the lack
of personal communication between people in today’s world.”
Communication was one of George’s strength’s, particularly his jokes. When he walked to the rostrum to
make his annual presentations on the NWFA Les Hicks Medal day, it was accompanied by the smiles of
the guests in anticipation of a few moments of entertainment.
His presentations included the Sportsmans Award for the competition’s championship club, based on
points accumulated from the wins of the clubs’ senior and reserves teams, and the Bob Foster Memorial
Award, a tribute to his Late father, and presented to the runner – up in the senior best and fairest count,
the Les Hicks Medal.
A special personal occasion, however, was reserved for George on grand final day to enable him to present
the George Foster Medal to the best player in the senior grand final in a fitting finale to the NWFA’s season –
its premier match being linked to its foremost president. The significance of the day was not lost on the man
known for his honesty and hard work and on his last grand final appearance in 2013, despite failing health,
ensured he was there to present the medal to the Motton Preston premiership player Justin Rootes.
Although it will in future be known as the George Foster Memorial Medal, its significance will forever be
etched in the annals of history of the North Western Football Association.