Valentine-Eleebana Junior Rugby League Club – A Brief History
The information below does not account for the thousands of children and parents who each have their own memory of the Valentine Devils but lists some key dates and facts of the early days with the hope that they will never be lost or forgotten.
The club was formed in 1970 with the inaugural meeting held in Valentine Progress Hall and entered teams in under 7s, 8s & 10s in 1970. Club colours were red jumpers with a white V and blue shorts.
The club was known as the Demons and played at Croudace Bay Park (where the soccer field is now located near the heated pool) for the 1970 season. In 1971 & 1972 the club played at Eleebana (near the tennis courts). The present location at Croudace Bay was in use from the start of the 1973 season. Council granted the club swamp land in Croudace Bay in 1970.
For 3 years the committee spent countless hours procuring free fill and free equipment and managed to turn the swamp into a playing surface. In 1973, the dirt (usually mud) track to the ground was from the far end of what is now the mini field and cars parked on the grass on what is now the mini field and net ball courts, There was no soccer, tennis or cricket. There was not even a Parklea Ave In 1974 the club colours changed to white with a red V and red shorts and around this time the club changed from Demons to Devils
The canteen consisted of a 12 foot caravan with power running out the window from an extension lead to a locked power box on a pole about half way between the fence and tennis courts (the pole is still there). The current canteen was built in 1979 for no cost and with no government grants. All materials were donated or found and all work was performed by volunteers.
At the end of the 1979 season a government grant was received for $30 000 and the change rooms, ground lighting and much of the present day clubhouse was built around the existing canteen.Work was completed by the start of the 1981 season.
The official opening of club house and the first use of the lights occurred on 28th March 1981 with a trial match against Macquarie for under 7s to 14s.
The first President was Reg Squires. Reg still lives only a stone’s throw from the grounds and regularly comes to watch grand kids of his mates play. Bruce Gill was the first Secretary and is also a life member of Lakes United Rugby League Club.
Their wives Beryl and Shirley were committee members also. After the inaugural AGM, subsequent meetings were held at Reg & Beryl Squires house or in the open at the ground until the late 1970s as the club had no club house and no permanent ground. Benefit nights for the first decade consisted of beer sold from eskies, BBQ sausage sandwiches, a bon fire and Mr Magoo and Road Runner movies from a projector in a canvas tent on the field for the kids. Early in the 1980s the benefit nights started to be held at clubs or pubs. Garry Minto penned the first editions of the Advocate and started the tradition of match reports being written each week.
We have Advocates from 1979 but it could have been a little earlier that he started this.
Presentation days were held at picnic venues (African Lion Safari was a regular for a few years) and parents and players took all their own food and drinks.
Trophies were donated by sponsors or a collection of money from parents