Club History

The Ninja Cats Touch Football Club was created in 2009. Below is a brief history of time as we know it from the Cats.

 

Formative Years

The Club was founded in early 2009, and drew the majority of its’ playing roster from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Graduate cohort of 2008. The balance of the Club was made up of their friends who wanted a run around and a bit of fun. There were two teams in the initial Ninja Cats TFC sides – a Mens team and a Mixed Novice team playing out of Deakin on a Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

The members of those teams were:

Mens:
Rhys Anderson, Paul Rattigan, John Russell, Adam Rollston, Mark Morgan, Josh Prior, Nathan Middlebrook, Carlos Velayo, Tim Emery, Ben Kirk, Luke Kercheval, James O’Donnell (absent)

Mixed:
Lauren Hunter, Steph Cooper, Lauren Pritchard, Unknown, Paul Rattigan, Carlos Velayo, Darci Wallis, Alice Russell, Rhys Anderson, Luke Kercheval, Ness Rattigan, Tim Emery, Ben Kirk, Ken Bell, Kylie Briggs (absent)

Combined Mens and Mixed teams

The results from the first season were average at best. The Mens side won a paltry single game, while the Mixed Novice team missed the finals series by one point, finalising their place in the table as the 5th best side. Not bad for a bunch of ‘kids’ who were mainly from AFL-centric states (ie South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia). In the main, the team performed well, and would go on to win their first ever championship the next year – the Winter Mixed Novice title, starting what would become a friendly rivalry with another Canberra-based group of teams, the Titans. The major sponsor of these teams was The Marketplace Gungahlin, with sleeve sponsor DeVine Function Centre at Kamberra Winery. These partnership have since been superceded by other arrangements, but their contribution to the evolution of the Ninja Cats Touch Football Club should never be forgotten.

In the Summer of 2010, The Cyber Bunker at Mitchell came on board as the major sponsor of Ninja Cats Touch Football Club. They provided exceptional support for the Club over numerous years, in exchange for attendance at their excellent facility in Mitchell. Ninja Cats would encourage any and everyone to organise a social or work function at The Cyber Bunker – they were great supporters of our Club in the formative years.

 

Moving into the Rep scene

In 2011, the Club grew to a number of teams that was too large for one person to manage, and Kirk turned the Cats over to be governed by a Board of Directors. The details of those who have served admirably for the Club are listed under the Board of Directors.

In 2012, the Ninja Cats Touch Football Club entered into an official understanding with Touch Football ACT to be responsible for the development of the Gungahlin region’s junior touch football players, and use their considerable influence in the community to create a pathway through to the elite level in the ACT. To this end, Ninja Cats TFC has also become known and will continue to be known as the Gungahlin Cats in our junior and elite touch endeavours. Along with this strategic alignment with the governing body of Touch Football within the greater Canberra region, NCTFC attracted some additional partners to complement the arrangement with The Cyber Bunker. These included Bennettfit Health and Fitness (1 year term), Zambrero Gungahlin (2012-2014), and Raiders Club Gungahlin (2012-current).

In 2014, Ninja Cats TFC entered our first Super League team into the premier competition in the ACT – the Gungahlin Cats. The team was a Womens’ team, led by Des Naughton as coach. The foundation for this team was laid by the successful campaign in the 2013 Summer domestic season, where coach Matt Smith led our Womens’ team to the domestic title for only the second time in our history. Our Super League team was led into the fray by captain Sam Harris, deputy Lisa Naughton and club stalwarts Kristen Corrie and Erin Sheldrick, as well as some young blood from the Gungahlin region and greater Yass Valley; a Gungahlin Cats feeder area. After some heavy defeats to the more experienced sides, the Cats finished 5th out of 6 sides. Particularly pleasing was the fact that they managed to beat the other new team in the competition, South East Tigers in the ladder after suffering an early-season defeat – out of the 3 games the sides played that year, the Cats lost the first, but rallied to win the last two and secure their final place on the ladder.

Yass 1

In 2015, the Club entered it’s second Super League competition for the Women’s side, again finishing 5th. A vastly improving side, coach Mat ‘Mags’ Souter provided leadership and built a tremendous spirit of camaraderie between the girls. Our Summer domestic season featured 14 teams across all divisions; a Club record for teams entered in any season at the time, and by far the largest group representing a single entity.

2015 also saw the first junior representative side from the Gungahlin region – an u12 Girls team, coached by Belinda Cook and Kristen Corrie. The girls came Runners Up to the ACT U12 representative side – a tremendous achievement and testimony to the commitment of the team and their coaches.

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The final cog in the engine of 2015 was the securing of our second major sponsor, E&L Projects, who contribute financially to the Club so that we can build our asset base.

2016 saw a challenging year for our elite Women’s team, with success on the training paddock and a much-improved overall scoreline in games failing to translate into a maiden finals appearance. Coach Matt Mitchell had the girls firing and getting the best results vs. teams that we have ever had – but the Cats couldn’t convert those chances to wins and ended up in 5th place, missing the semi finals. Domestically, the Cats had a 47% increase in members, recording the highest growth of the Club for many years, which coincided with the Club’s movement toward a new governance structure (Incorporated Association); made in line with current sports governance trends. It also saw the launch of our new Partnership Framework (including the 300-Club), enabling the Club to plan for the future rather than on an annual basis.

 

The Future

The Cats have had over 400 members run through our playing group, numbering over 15 qualified referees, a handful of coaches and numerous grand final appearances and victories in the TFACT domestic competitions.

Our plans for the future include:

  • Maintaining our position within TFACT domestic competitions to ensure that we provide opportunities for our Members at every level of ability
  • Growing our Elite pathways program to ensure that we can offer high level opportunities for our elite players
  • Establishing a junior pathways program so that we can become a Club that offers a ‘whole of touch life’ pathway for our Members

We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to play with us – please use the Contact Form on our website to get in touch.

 

Amaroo Cats