K rock Football

Cats lend Demons a hand

Geelong vice-president Bob Gartland and Portarlington president Linda Shaw. ((krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer))

JUST months after going public with its fight for survival, Bellarine league club Portarlington has struck an alliance with AFL club Geelong to help in its rebuild.

The Cats will play a role as administration mentors for the Demons, while also becoming No.1 ticket holder of one of the region’s oldest clubs.

Geelong vice-president Bob Gartland, who played with Portarlington in the mid-1970s, says talks between the Cats and Demons have taken place throughout 2019.

“It’s the oldest club in the Bellarine and one of the oldest clubs in Geelong, but I was keen, and we were keen to see them continue,” Gartland said.

“And we felt with just a little bit of assistance from us at the Geelong Football Club that we could add to and be part of a recovery for them, in assisting them around mentoring in a small way, and certainly help them with use of our IP (intellectual property) and our brand.

“And on the back of that, we’ve been offered the No.1 ticket holder’s place here at Portarlington, which we’re very happy to accept, and we’re hoping that adds a little bit of impetus and momentum to help this club, mostly, keep its juniors here.

“I think that’s what we need to do. And then help the club create a framework around success moving forward.”

Gartland acknowledged Geelong has a role in continuing to grow Australian Rules football in the region.

“The footy club’s had a long history of reaching out to our local football community – it’s been happening for 150 years,” he said.

“And when you think about how closely related Geelong Football Club is to the local football leagues and the local football community, it’s no surprise we’ve been engaged at a high level around the community.

“It’s a space we’re proud to occupy.”

Portarlington president Linda Shaw labelled the alliance with Geelong as “an important piece of the puzzle” as the club looks to put arguably the toughest decade in the club’s 145-year history behind it.

The Demons won just 19 games in that period, including going winless this season.

“To be given the opportunity to partner with, and be mentored by, one of AFL’s most successful clubs is a privilege,” she said. “We’re incredibly excited for what’s to come”.

“The guidance and support that has been extended to us from the Geelong Football Club has been phenomenal.

“The Portarlington Demons Football and Netball Club with the wider Portarlington community are thrilled to be welcoming the Geelong Football Club to the family for 2020.”

Portarlington memberships are now on sale. More details at www.portarlingtondemonsfnc.com

Twitter: @tom_king79