Key IK defender Renee Pilkington was best on court as Inverloch-Kongwak celebrated the opening of its new netball facility. Photo courtesy of Yvonne McMahon.


INSIDE and out, after a $1 million-plus redevelopment, the Inverloch-Kongwak Football Netball Club’s netball facility looks… well, it looks a million dollars!

And what better way to celebrate its opening last Saturday, by the Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale and Bass Coast Mayor Cr Brett Tessari, than with an almost clean sweep of the results on court; A Grade winning a keenly-contest match 42-34, B winning by 8, C by 9, D by 24 and winning three out of four in 17s, 15s, 13s and 11s.

It was a great day for the Sea Eagles’ netballers, club officials, supporters and all those who made a contribution.

As well as all the in-kind work by friends of IK, the design work of Jaylee Fitzpatrick of the J Design Group, and a very generous grant of $25,000 by the Inverloch and District Community Bank Branch (Bendigo Bank); chief among the contributors were the State Government and the Bass Coast Shire with $1/2 million each.

Which is why the Mayor Cr Tessari and Bass MP Jordan Crugnale were front and centre at the opening.

“Up until recently, the 150-strong Sea Eagles netballers were playing on two non-compliant courts that hadn’t been resurfaced since 2004. The courts also had poor lighting and the teams had to make do with a tin shed as a pavilion. We’ve fixed that,” Ms Crugnale said.

“The old netball courts have been updated into two full-size, compliant netball courts with player shelters, tiered seating, 200 lux lighting and fencing.

“There’s also a new female friendly pavilion that includes player and umpire changerooms, accessible toilet and change space, medical room, kitchenette and multi-purpose space that’s also available to the local community.

“Together the new hub provides the Sea Eagles more opportunity to train, stage development programs, host competitions and grow the netball community in the local area.

“From play space upgrades to new netball facilities, investments like these provide high-quality and accessible places for Victorians to reap the benefits of sport and active recreation participation.”

Speaking at the opening, Ms Crugnale was clearly invested in the project’s success.

“For too long clubs like the Inverloch-Kongwak Sea Eagles have been held back by outdated facilities – they deserve appropriate facilities they can be proud of.

“The new netball hub at Inverloch Recreation Reserve also opens up more opportunities for female participation at the popular reserve.

“Better sport and recreation facilities make it easier for Victorians to get back to local sport and recreation and lead healthy and active lifestyles.”

“This fantastic makeover was ready for the start of the 2020 season, but COVID put the first whistle and more than 150 players on hold.

“We admired the sparkling new everything from afar and close too; two courts, powder coasted fencing, 200 lux lights, player shelters and a new pavilion that includes player and umpire changerooms, accessible bathroom, medical room, kitchenette amongst its dedicated rooms and more.

“Does anyone remember the before?

“The visiting teams, umpires, changerooms, medical/first aid area all bunked in together in one sweat-box of a glorified shed, held back by the cramped rooms and non-compliant court and lighting infrastructure.

“This change happened because the club had a vision, they come together and start plotting away, bringing all their members and local community together, their council, their local MPs. And we take them seriously, we see the need, the benefit, we work to help however we can because we want to see it happen and join the partnership.”

Ms Crugnale thanked former president Kylie Debono as the main driving force behind the project, and the club committee of 2018, with a special mention to Jaylee Fitzpatrick from J Design Group who did the designs and all those who had a part to play.

“You should all be so proud of this it’s been a wonderful four-way partnership:

(1.) The club who also designed the precinct, fundraised their hearts out and worked so hard to secure the grant. ($15,000 plus all the in-kind hours).

(2.) Andrews Labor Government- Female Friendly Facilities Grant Program – ($500,000)

(3.) Bass Coast Shire Council ($500,000)

(4.) Inverloch and District Community Bank ($25,000).

“This club, this reserve, this community, this town, is a big family that wraps its arms around people little and big; its projects, programs and supports. It is welcoming, inclusive, gracious, and oozing with kindness which we see all the time in so many ways.

“A massive congratulations to everyone involved, the entire committee, the club, the players, sponsors, supporters and local builders. An absolute joy to see this one come to light.”

The money shot. Chairman of Inverloch and District Community Bank Branch (Bendigo Bank) Philip Clark, IK Netball past president Kylie Debono, best on court Renee Pilkington and Penny Lyttle, Acting Manager of Inverloch’s Bendigo Bank with the novelty cheque for $25,000 acknowledging Bendigo Bank’s contribution of $25,000 to the cost of the new netball complex. Photo courtesy of Yvonne McMahon.

It was all smiles as the Inverloch-Kongwak Football Netball Club opened its $1 million-plus facilities at the recreation reserve last Saturday. Present were past-president and one of the driving forces for the project Kylie Debono, Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale who encouraged the State Government to stump up $1/2 million, Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor Cr Brett Tessari acknowledging the shire’s $1/2 million contribution and Philip Clark, Chairman of Inverloch and District Community Bank Branch (Bendigo Bank) which provided $25,000. Photo courtesy of Yvonne McMahon.