Frankston Blues Men’s Head Coach Andrew Harms has spent almost every ANZAC Day either playing or coaching for going on almost ten years. This year will be different.
As a Frankston junior, Harms progressed through the junior system, went to college and returned re-joining the senior program for two years. Following a SEABL South Conference Championship season, he changed clubs to cross town rival Dandenong Rangers, where he would go on to later captain a SEABL Championship team.
“I had an amazing time at Dandenong and was fortunate enough to play a part in a really successful period in the clubs history. I arrived at the same time as DP (Darren Perry) and 7 years just flew by, I look back on those years with a lot of pride and positivity. Loved the coaches and players and won a championship… can’t ask for much more than that.”
While he was with the Rangers, the Frankston Blues advocated with the league (SEABL) to host an annual ANZAC tradition, which still stands.
“It’s always been such an honour to play on such a significant day. I think we as players always circled the ANZAC day game on the calendar and would talk internally about how it was a great opportunity to test ourselves in a hostile atmosphere. Irrespective of where the teams were on the ladder, the place was packed and the intensity on both sides of the ball had a finals feel. The highlight was silencing the crowd… we took a lot of joy in that, oh and DP rearranging a door fitting in the change rooms at half time one year, it got the desired effect he was after! ”
Following his years at Dandenong he retired from playing, in 2017. With less than 12 months away from the league, Harms returned to the Blues in the Head Coach role.
In the 2019 inaugural NBL1 season, the Blues, got their first finals win in ten years, playing in front of two sold out crowds, but this didn’t come without a slow start.
Sitting 0-3 the ANZAC Day Eve game against the Rangers saw another loss. The Blues would later go on to avenge this loss with a win against the Rangers in round 11. What changed? Time.
“We had so many moving pieces to start the season and we knew it would take time to bed down our identity and establish our style of play. You can’t microwave continuity and we had the ‘parts’ we just needed time to cement the ‘whole’. In saying that, Dandy won the ANZAC game, we didn’t lose it. We had promised our naming rights sponsor Frankston RSL that we plan on turning the tables on them in 2020. ”
The 2019 season saw the Blues defeated by Bendigo Braves in the Preliminary Final and Harms receiving the Coach of the Year Award from the league.
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Last weekend was meant to be the round 1 of the 2020 NBL1 season.
“We felt we had again taken significant steps in our strategic plan for our senior program in 2020 and beyond. We felt our list profile was really strong and had combined talent with community focused leaders, who understood no one is bigger than the club. We had the NBL1 and Youth League groups together early and felt we were building for a strong 2020. I’m disappointed for a lot of our athletes, who had put in a power of work to get themselves ready for the season, however this is bigger than hoops and we have all shifted our focus to 2021.”
While imports David Chavlovich and Josh Fox have gone back home to the states, the entire roster are staying together, engaged.
“We have a WhatsApp thread that is still quite active and the coaches check in with the players to see how things are going outside of hoops. We recruited intrinsically motivated athletes and this time off has seen them find creative ways to stay in shape and stay connected. As soon as the stadium door are unlocked… I honestly don’t know how we will get them back out again!”
Due to the COVID-19 social distancing regulations, neither of Frankston RSL’s regular services or the Frankston Blues games will be held. This, however, will not stop the community from being able to commemorate and pay their respects.
Unlike in previous years, you will not see volunteers in the shopping centres and in front of major shopping areas selling ANZAC badges. We instead ask that you make your donation to the ANZAC Appeal online, to enable the continued work that is done to support our Veterans. Donations can be made by heading to www.anzacappeal.com.au