By Sam Watson

AFTER a fantastic all-round season on the football field and netball court, Inverloch Kongwak has earned the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition club championship.

The club championship is awarded to the club with the most premiership points across all grades of football and netball, making it a true testament to the overall strength of the winning club.

Cora Lynn won it in the first year of the West Gippsland FNC in 2017, with Phillip Island winning the next two, but after a year off Inverloch Kongwak returned to the field and court ready to win.

They finished second in senior football, third in the reserves, second in the thirds and fourth in the fourths.

In the netball they finished eighth in A Grade, third in B Grade, on top in C Grade, D Grade and the Under 17s, third in the under 15s, seventh in the under 13s and fourth in the under 11s.

IK football president Peter Butcher said although the club championship isn’t what they really set out to win, it is a nice award.

“It just rewards all the hard work that everyone puts in to get us to where we’ve got to this year,” Butcher said.

And he said it was the people in key roles that have been able to create sustained success across the board.

“I think it’s having the right people in the right positions, starting from the head coach in the seniors (Ben Soumilas) through to the netball president (Kylie Strickland).”

“We have such a good working group and such a strong supporters base, with volunteers that are prepared to put their hand up.

“We’ve only got an eight-person committee, but we’ve got so many other great helpers around the club to always put their hand up and jump in and give us a chop out.”

He also said the strong relationship between the footballers and netballers has created an environment that everyone can thrive in.

“It’s getting stronger and stronger every year, the connection between the netball and the football.”

“And I think it’ll grow stronger again, we’ve appointed a new head of netball Jarrad Walker and he’ll only bring the club closer together.”

Unfortunately, their fantastic all-round season couldn’t be capped off with any premierships, but they can still take some solace out of the club championship.

Butcher said despite the disappointment of another cancelled season, the club is in a strong position to attack next year.

“Obviously it’s really disappointing, but we’ve already reappointed all our coaches for next year on the football side.”

Ben Soumilas will coach the club’s senior football side again, Shane Bertacco will coach the reserves and the under 16s and Chris Terlich will coach the under 18s.

“They’re all pretty confident we’ll keep the groups together, we’ve got unfinished business and we’d just like to have another crack at it next year.”

And Butcher believes the players will be more motivated than ever next year.

“They hung out and hung out this year just hoping to get a final result and seeing that we had so many sides in the finals both through football and netball, we were striving for a good result.”

“Obviously it didn’t happen, but I think they’re all pretty keen to go around again.”