Cheltenham/Highett Panther Dogs

Season 2014 was a very difficult and challenging year for both the Cheltenham and Highett Under 13 teams.

After having played off for the U12 West (Div 2) Grand Final, both clubs were promoted to U 13 Division 1 2014 season where both teams found it very difficult to be competitive in Division 1.

The one thing that became evident to Coaches and Team Officials of both teams was how uncompetitive these two teams were for the season. Unfortunately the level of player enjoyment and satisfaction appeared to be affected by this lack of competitiveness.

In discussions with both Coaches, Team officials and Committee representatives, the teams were uncompetitive at those levels because: 

All other clubs in those divisions could pick the most suited players for the higher divisions from 40 -60 players to form a very even in ability and competitive team for that Division,


the development of ALL players was being severely affected. As a result, it was feared that the better players would leave to seek development with the ‘stronger’ clubs in the higher grades. Those players who struggled to compete may leave the game and club disenchanted about football as their confidence had been shattered.

Conscious of this, both 2014 Coaches, Team Officials and a Committee representative from each club discussed, considered and put forward a proposal to merge our U14s teams to ensure the continued development of all Cheltenham & Highett U14 players for 2015.

Philosophy behind the merge

In line with the 'Philosophy' and policies of both clubs, merging is focused solely to provide all players with an environment in which they will achieve maximum football development both at training and in the matches. We aim to continue fostering an enjoyment of the game and the development of self worth and self esteem as a result of their acheivments.

This merge has been a huge success for both Highett Cheltenham teams. Players from both clubs were surveyed by the SMJFL with the following results and we look forward to a successful 2016 season.

Player Only Survey

97% of the players thought merging the two teams / clubs was a good thing

When asked, If the two clubs didn't merge the two teams, would you still have played football this year? Only 55% said yes, 39% said they would have changed clubs altogether and 6% would not have played at all.

When asked,  Will you play SMJFL football in 2016, 100% of the players said YES.

100% of the players also said they would recommend the clubs continue with the composite teams in 2016?

Some of the advantages of merging the two teams were;

• Meeting new people and team mates.

• Both teams had a lot of talented players and some that weren't as talented so by making a division 1 and division 4 side all players could compete at the level they should. 

• That we kept our good players and could play Div 1. I also got more ball in the other team. 

• It gave me more match time and try different positions and I have improved.

6. What were some of the disadvantages of merging the two teams?

• Nil, it was great.

• The top team was very well looked after since most of the heavily involved families had their sons in that team, but for the bottom team we struggled because not many parents put their hand up to help out. 

• The only disadvantage I could think of is we didn't have the same shorts and socks, but we will have them next year.

• None, I think it was a good thing to do, it kept us together

Our Song

 Sung to the tune of the ADELAIDE CROWS Song

 We’re the pride of Chelt& Highett

We’re the mighty Panther Dogs.

We’re courageous, stronger, faster

And respected by our foes.

Our skill and nerve will see us through,

Our determination shows

We’re the pride of Chelt& Highett

We’re the mighty Panther Dogs!









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