This Sunday, AJAX Junior Footy Club (AJFC) will kick off its 2022 SMJFL campaign in what is the club’s milestone 50th season.
An all-club practice match day at Princes Park on April 3 was enjoyed by hundreds of its players, to fine-tune their skills and get them pumped for round one.
Earlier, on March 29, AJFC’s 50th season launch was held when team coaches, managers, and club committee members enjoyed an entertaining Q&A segment between club committee member Elliot Swart and Melbourne Demons star Alex Neal-Bullen.
The 2021 AFL premiership-winning player spoke about his footy journey, the importance of resilience and leadership, and told some great stories, including one about his ‘grand final goggles’.
But there was still one highlight to come that night – the launch of a special edition AJFC 50th anniversary logo, designed by U9s coach Adam Wiser.
All 2022 registered players, coaches, team managers and committee will receive a hoodie displaying the logo and a new design on the back.
As published in The AJN’s sports section on May 5, 1972 next to a photo of an U11 boys’ squad captained by Anthony Pratt, the first AJFC team provided “a ton of talent for the future”, and looked “a formidable bunch for any opposition”.
That team turned up on Sundays to play footy at that time because the late Rabbi Ronald Lubofsky didn’t want kids playing footy on Shabbat.
The team joined the local league (JSFA) mid-season in that year and hired some Richmond jumpers from the local sports shop.
In 1973, the club fielded six teams from U10s to U14s, and had almost 200 players a year later, adopting a St Kilda-style jumper, adding a light blue star.
For the 2022 season, AJFC has more than 570 registered players filling its teams, including three girls’ teams.