The OFCJFC was formed many years ago sometime around the late 1960’s or early 1970’s when, assisted by the senior club, a junior club was formed in its own right. Until then the Under 16’s played with/for the senior club on Saturday mornings.
The club enjoyed great support for a long time at one stage during the early 1980’s fielding U9’s 11’s 13’s 15’s and 16’s. To help boost numbers Keith Rankin (a coach for over ten years) used to collect up to a dozen boys from the Basin Boys Home and using their bus drive them to matches. Keith tells us that the boys saw it as an honour to be able to play and there was never any trouble. Of the players who played in the 1988 senior premiership more than three quarters of the team had come through the junior ranks,, which was seen as testament to the benefits of a strong junior football club.
Whilst there were a lot of people who contributed, significant contributions were made by Peter Cook, Tony McKinnon, Keith Rankin, Mick Hill, Chris Riddiford and John and Jill Graham. For some time the senior club played in the EDFL whilst the juniors played in the Dandenong ranges (DRJFL) but eventually in 1986 the seniors joined the Yarra Valley & Mountain districts league putting both clubs into the same league. For a short time the junior club looked at changing it’s name to “The Colts”, which is where the horses head came from but this did not endure and the name returned to “The Young Bloods”.
At times the club has struggled to make the numbers to field the necessary teams to remain in the competition, particularly when the ground was rebuilt back in 2000/01 and the equipment required to repair the drainage was removed prior to the completion of the works. This meant that the works took a season longer than expected and the junior club was forced to play home games at Kilsyth for the entire duration. A number of parents took their children to other local clubs like Monbulk or Belgrave rather than drive to Kilsyth to play home games and these children never returned to the club. Somehow despite these setbacks the club has always managed to stay afloat and is currently in the best shape it’s been in for some time with the U16’s, having won the premiership in 2007 and 2008. Followed by the U12’s in 2009.
The club has a strong and dedicated committee working to secure the future of the club by documenting club policy and protocols, setting up a coaching committee and other sub-committees to tackle all areas of club administration and policy appropriate to juniors. A major reason for the clubs participation in the Hills Recreation group has been to improve the club facilities, which are not just the worst in the league they are close to the worst in the state. By improving the facilities we can strengthen the club and attract greater numbers to our ranks, which would undoubtedly provide benefits to the other clubs, seniors, cricket & netball both directly and indirectly. Financially the club has been in good shape for some time thanks to the many people who give of their time and the local sponsors whose contribution is invaluable.
Looking forward we expect our numbers to improve to the point where we may field other teams such as U15’s 13’s & 11’s.