“To capture the euphoria of Wedderburn’s 37 year drought breaking premiership in 2007 behind the camera is still one of my most amazing experiences ever…. You could feel the relief, the jubilation. It’s times like this where you see grown men break down in tears. I will never forget seeing the look Tim Lockhart, president at the time, and his brother Dean Lockhart, senior coach, gave one another after the final siren. The privilege of documenting that moment and sharing it with the community blew me away.
“The value a football, netball and hockey club provides to a small local community can’t be defined”, according to Shane O’Shea. “Every weekend the footballers, netballers and hockey players all travel to another community to compete in their sport. It’s such an empowering way for communities to be bought together”.
Shane began his journey with Donald Football Club at a young age. With his dad, Frank, a coach of under-16s and playing reserve football, at the age of 10, he and his entire family were dragged along on a Saturday to watch his father compete.
Shane began playing junior football in Donald’s under 13 side and gradually moved to the reserve team. After a brief period with Nyah West Football Club, Shane returned to his roots at Donald. However, things changed for Shane the second time round. He went from not playing very well to finding his niche in administration roles.
For two years, Shane served as the treasurer for the ladies’ committee, which fundamentally looked after the canteen. When the position of secretary at Donald became available, Shane stepped into the role and “thoroughly enjoyed it”. Shane was secretary of Donald Football Club between 1980-1983.
Whilst Shane enjoyed his position as secretary of Donald Football club, when the opportunity to be involved in the North-Central Football League came available in 1984, he become treasurer of the league, for 2 years from 1984 to 1985.
In 1986 the position of secretary became open and once again Shane stepped up to take on the role, a position he filled from 1986-1989.
However, with already having a professional career in media, Shane’s most valuable role in the league was the coverage he provided in the local newspaper, formerly known as The Donald Times, now The Buloke Times.
This role provided Shane with some of the most spectacular memories, but importantly gave the league and community members of Donald the recognition they deserved for their continued efforts of banding together on a Saturday for local sport.
It really provides a sense of how important sporting teams are to a regional community.
“I feel so privileged in my role. I am welcomed at all the clubs; I can go into any room and everyone welcomes me and are just so keen to help me out. It’s such a special sense of belonging”.
“However, I did get kicked out of a room once”, he laughed. “In his first week, the Wedderburn coach asked the president to kick me out”.
The service and dedication to football coverage for the North-Central Football League doesn’t stop there, Shane has also provided the fundamental service of a local football show, first on Horsham’s 3WM, and when that station gave the show the flick in the early 1990s, on Swan Hill radio station 3SH.
“My boss used to do a football show as a community contributor, when he went overseas, he asked me to fill in. I thought it would be a month or so, but when he returned, he gave the role to me permanently, which I continue to do to this day.”
“The radio show gave me the opportunity to provide information to the community and recognise people’s achievements and report the positive role of football, hockey and netball in 15 -20 minutes”.
Shane insists that his dedication and service to the league and community comes from his own passion and love for the sport, and importantly, the people involved.
“The people you meet, the friendships you create, and the memories that are produced in the process are some of the most important reasons football holds a special place with me and the community”.
Both Donald Football club and the North Central Football League are incredibly privileged for all of Shane’s time and service.
Eliza Mc Kinstry – AFL CV Internship