Clubs Combine To Stop Violence Against Women
Knox City To Play Mooroolbark In White Ribbon Challenge
By Craig MacKenzie
Knox City will play Mooroolbark at Egan Lee Reserve on Saturday, February 20, 2016 in the inaugural White Ribbon Challenge.
The national campaign to stop men’s violence against women has been embraced by both clubs.
“We’ve organised a full afternoon of quality football to highlight the very important cause of ending violence against women as both Knox and Mooroolbark have committed to being strong community partners and are taking a lead in supporting social issues impacting on our society,” Knox director Mark Tyrrell said.
His sentiments were echoed by Mooroolbark vice-president Mick Ashworth.
“It is vitally important that women be involved in all facets of everyday life in an atmosphere free of fear and we certainly believe in creating such a climate at our club,” Ashworth said.
“I would like Saturday’s games to become an annual event and I think Knox is keen for that too.”
The White Ribbon Challenge is the brainchild of Knox gaffer Danny Verdun and was spawned during a conversation late last year between Verdun and Mooroolbark counterpart Andy McCabe.
“Andy called me about arranging a pre-season game and I’d already had my pre-season organised but I said ‘okay, let’s try and get together and do something that we can do each year’ and Andy thought that was a good idea,” said Verdun.
Saturday’s schedule kicks off at 12:15pm when White Ribbon ambassador Stephen O’Malley will explain the goals of the campaign before conducting the Swearing of the White Ribbon Oath.
The first match at 1:00pm is a men’s reserves game followed by a senior women’s game at 3:00pm and a senior men’s game at 5:00pm.
Both clubs are treating the senior men’s contest as an important part of their preparation for the upcoming season.
Verdun has only added two new faces to his senior squad in defenders Phil Hawkins and Gavin Moon, both recruited from Verdun’s former club Frankston Pines.
Prior to Christmas he anticipated signing midfielders Grant Lane and Nick Giannopoulos also from Pines but Lane opted to go to Langwarrin while Giannopoulos has stepped aside from football as he has arranged a family trip to Greece mid-season.
“I’ve retained the majority of boys from last year but we’re always looking to make changes if that improves the squad,” said Verdun.
“The next few weeks will tell us what our strikers are going to be like and whether we need to improve in that area.”
McCabe is in his fifth full season as Barkers’ boss and is readying for the club’s return to State 1 status after a 23-year hiatus.
“I actually played in that side all those years ago but maybe you shouldn’t mention that because we got relegated,” quipped McCabe.
“It’s going to be a big challenge this season but we’ve got a great bunch of lads and they make it easy for the coaching staff with their commitment.”
George Hughes has been appointed to assist McCabe who is delighted to have the support of the former Peninsula Strikers coach.
“He did a brilliant job getting our juniors up and running and having his experience and a different set of eyes will make a big difference to us,” said McCabe.
There have been four additions to McCabe’s senior squad during pre-season.
Goalkeeper Ben Devlin has joined from Doveton, attacking midfielder Bryce Ziada and left back Tom Byrne have been signed from Casey Comets and full back Liam Seaye has joined from Croydon.
A gold coin entry fee to Saturday’s event will go to White Ribbon Australia and both clubs are calling on football fans to support the day and make the statement that violence against women is never acceptable.