South Melbourne FC is proud to announce the establishment of a powerchair football team and the creation of the South Melbourne Powerchair Football Club.
Powerchair football is an all-abilities sport for those who require an electric wheelchair as their primary means of mobility. This involves those affected by Muscular Dystropy and Cerebral Palsy, but may also involve those who have a disability as a result of a workplace or vehicle accident. The sport is played on a basketball size court using an oversize ball.
The team competes in the Victorian Electric Wheelchair Sports Association (VEWSA) League. The formation of the South Melbourne team in 2018 introduced the first opportunity for competitive powerchair football in Victoria. Melbourne City FC has been a supporter of the sport and this year was the first chance for players to go head-to-head.
Over the course of eleven rounds, South Melbourne defeated Melbourne City on six occasions, drawing one and losing four. A successful first year under Captain Jules North-Coombes and Coach Rebecca Gullé saw us finish six points clear winning the league with a goal difference of plus six. More importantly than the result was the ability for South Melbourne to assist the sport and the players participate in a competitive environment as well as introduce some new players into the sport.
We also recognise our striker and Australian Poweroos representative Shaun Mott who secured the league golden boot scoring fourteen goals for the season.
Talking to smfc.com.au, Football Director Nicholas Maikousis said “I am really proud of the work the club has put into assisting the growth of powerchair football and providing additional opportunities for electric wheelchair-bound community members to engage in sporting activities. We have committed to providing financial, equipment, logistical and media support for the team and players.”
“We firmly believe in empowering our players outside the game and involving them various aspects of the club. For this reason, we have registered South Melbourne Powerchair FC as a separate club and are proud to have Craig Kilby serve as its founding President. Craig has been involved in the sport for over fifteen years and has been instrumental in its growth, development and the introduction of new players. He also serves as the Vice-President of the Victorian Electric Wheelchair Sports Association. With Craig’s support, we have already been successful in the clubs first sporting grant application to assist with funding equipment and uniforms for the players” Nicholas said.
After the last match SMPFC President Craig Kilby spoke to smfc.com.au saying “This is the first season we have had dedicated teams and we are improving and playing better as a group. We have some new players to the sport this year and there are players with new and upgraded wheelchairs to get used to. I would really like to thank everyone at South Melbourne who has helped us form the new club and the team. The club has worked with their equipment sponsor Sportsmart to create tailored kit just for us. It has numbers on the sleeves together with the South Melbourne and the VEWSA logo on the front.”
“It’s a privilege to be able to serve as the Club’s founding President. The introduction of South Melbourne this year means we can play competitively. The other main benefit is travelling to the Club Championship in January as a second team from Victoria. It opens up more opportunities for players to play the game” he said.
South Melbourne Powerchair FC will travel to Sydney in January to compete in the National Club Championship. Over the course of a week the squad will face off against teams from Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanders, Central Coast Mariners, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar. The 2019 VEWSA League will commence in May next year with rounds being played at the AquaHub in Croydon.
2018 South Melbourne Powerchair Team
#1 James North-Coombes
#3 Shaun Mott
#6 Craig Kilby
#9 Jules North-Coombes (Captain)
#11 Chris Kessaris
Rebecca Gullé (Coach)
South Melbourne FC would like to acknowledge the assistance on Luke David, President of VEWSA and Martin Dalrymple of the Australian Powerchair Football Association in the establishment of the club.