50 for HFL

September 21st, 2017
50 for HFL
This year the Hills Football League (HFL) is celebrating a milestone achievement of 50 years since its inception in 1967.

Formed following the merging of the Torrens Valley Association and the Hills Central League, the HFL has evolved and grown over the last 50 years to become the 19 club, 3,800 player strong league it is today.

“Reaching the 50 year milestone reflects the strength of football as a sport,” HFL President Malcolm Williams said. “Football has a strong association with community wellbeing - it’s all about camaraderie.”

Malcolm believes the HFL and its many local football clubs provide the community with much more than just Saturday entertainment.

“The local football club is often the heartbeat of any community,” he said. “Footy clubs bring up young men and women to be good role models and citizens in their communities.When people are struggling the local footy club really rallies around the family – that’s the role the club plays in the community.”

While many other rural football leagues have suffered over the years due to population decline, the HFL has gone from strength to strength.

“We’re very fortunate to be in a growth area here in the Hills – the sport is still booming and growing,” Malcolm said.

“A lot of other leagues have amalgamated because of lack of growth.

“For us to be able to stay in our original form and reach 50 years is significant.”

And the future of the HFL looks bright, with further development and population growth expected across many areas in the Hills.

“We expect a growth in teams in areas of development,” Malcolm said.

“And women’s football is increasing in popularity as well, so we’ll have our own women’s league next year.”

The HFL is also expected to benefit from future plans in expansion in Mount Barker.

“We’ve been working with the Mount Barker Council on a new sports hub that will have AFL sized ovals where we’ll be able to host inter-league, HFL and SANFL games,” Malcolm said.

“It’ll be a real showpiece to attract a high level of footy.”

Over its 50 years the HFL has had 12 presidents and countless contributing board members to ensure it runs smoothly.

Current board member and past president Owen Lamshed headed the league for 14 years from 1999 to 2013.

“I often say that they’ll carry me out of here,” Owen said.

“I was president for 14 years and I’m still on the board and very involved with the league.
“I used to play football but I was injured when I was 16.

“I was playing A-Grade at the time and got kneed in the back and ended up losing a kidney.
“I was told not to play again and so I got into the administration of the sport.

“It is something that I’m very proud of – the league has supported some great talent over the years.
“One of the highlights of my involvement with the league came just last weekend when Nairne won the A-grade premiership.

“This is the first time this has happened in 29 years and I remember their last win all those years ago, so it was great to see the team celebrate after taking the title this year.”

Owen said that the HFL was attracting interest from clubs further afield.

“There has been some interest over the years from Flagstaff Hill and Happy Valley,” Owen said.

“It may be that they approach us about joining the league, which is very complimentary.

“It is a very good league; well administrated and professionally run. We pay for a full-time secretary to ensure the competition runs smoothly.

“And with the development of new ovals and facilities, it won’t be long before we see additional local clubs establish and join the league, too.”

For current president Malcolm, sustaining the HFL and its many local clubs is also about ensuring local communities continue to thrive.

“I recently saw a study that said the wellbeing of people in footy clubs is better than the general community,” he said.

“It also found that for every dollar invested in a footy club $4.40 is invested back into the community.”

With the continuing promotion of community inclusiveness, wellbeing and prosperity, the next 50 years of the HFL looks bright indeed.

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