SOUTH Mildura Sporting Club’s incoming president Kevin Burke admits he has “big shoes to fill” heading in to the 2021 season.
But he says he’s “ready to accept the challenge front-on.”
Burke, who was unanimously voted in to the Bulldogs’ top job following the recent resignation of Mark Bresnehan, said the entire club was “focused on finals” and credits the outgoing president for the club’s “strong” position.
“The work that (Bresnehan) has done in this club, from junior coordinator to president, has been fantastic, second to none,” Burke said.
“He recently stood down, with the full support of the board and the club for personal reasons, but he will still be involved as both his son and his daughter play.
“The job and all the work that he’s done (as president) has put us in a really good position heading into 2021.”
Burke’s involvement with South Mildura has spanned over three decades and has seen him transition from player, trainer to head trainer, committee member, board member, vice president and now, president.
He says he’s “optimistic” about the season ahead, with senior coach Ben Dalton at the helm.
“(Dalton) has shown strong leadership skills and the boys are looking great,” Burke said.
“A lot of them have used the last 12 months as an opportunity to really work on their fitness and their strength and they look fresh and fit – and that’s what we want.
“It’s the same with the netballers – they’re always strong. Netball has been the backbone of our success and they will continue to be that for the club. We’re in for a good, solid year.”
But Burke admits the season won’t be “without its challenges,” expressing concern for a lack of numbers across the junior teams.
“Engaging players from under 18’s and younger, that’s a challenge a lot of local clubs face across the board,” he said.
“Especially after 12 months off, we’re doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes to try and get kids back out on the field.
“The juniors are the future of this club, they’re so important.
“We’d absolutely welcome any new recruits with open arms.”
The Bulldogs will remain at Sarah Oval this season, but are “buoyant and excited” about the move to the new Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct in 2022.
“There is a bit of nostalgia around this being our last season at (Sarah Oval) – it’s bittersweet,” he said.
“It’s a new era and a new beginning and it’s one that we as a club are ready for.”
Photo and story courtesy of Sunraysia Daily