Thursday, 23 September 2021                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                                    Page 7446/7447

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:56): Today, I would like to talk about the forthcoming South Australian Junior Soccer Championships which will be held at Port Pirie over this weekend coming. Due to the COVID pandemic, the state championships were not held last year and the original venue for the state championships this year was originally to be held in Mildura. However, due to the uncertainty of the COVID issue, the association decided it would be unwise to travel to Mildura. They, to my information, then had to do a tremendous lot of work to get an alternative location.

As we all appreciate in this house, to arrange an event as large as this takes a lot of hard work. The association is to be congratulated on their dedication and their commitment to getting it going again this year. Whilst Port Pirie may not have been the first location to be considered this year due to Port Pirie holding the event in 2019—which I will mention was a great success and everybody walked away very impressed with the organisation and the playing fields there—Whyalla, Strathalbyn, Adelaide Shores and another location were eliminated this year for many reasons.

However, Port Pirie, when asked, was able to facilitate the event at very short notice, which will be greatly appreciated by all the young players as they will have the opportunity to be able to participate in these championships and actually fare themselves against other associations. Unfortunately, Broken Hill and Sunraysia had to withdraw due to the COVID restrictions. There are still, to my information, 31 teams nominated from nine associations.

The games will be played over five pitches, which will include the new Memorial Oval in Port Pirie, which is part of the redevelopment of the sports complex there. There will be two pitches there. The adjacent Port Pirie West Primary School, which has also been upgraded as part of the sports complex, has two pitches and there is one pitch at the John Pirie Secondary School, which just got a $12 million redevelopment. There is a bit of construction there, but nothing will interfere with the oval itself.

The great thing about this is that all the games will be played within a 330-metre walk from any of the games being played. This will allow parents, who may have children playing in different divisions, to be able to watch all their children at the one time. We have in our city the finest playing surface—a synthetic field—at the Virtus playing fields at Byrne Park. Whilst these chosen pitches are really great, I would have liked the tremendous pitch located at Byrne Park to be showcased; however, these other five pitches will suffice.

Whilst there has been a lot of work undertaken by the state junior association, the local association in Port Pirie, the Port Pirie Regional Council and the Spencer Gulf Football League over many weeks, I am disappointed that, when looking at the Port Pirie Regional Council website today promoting events such as these, there appears to be no mention of this event even happening.

The Spencer Gulf Football League have to be congratulated because this weekend we have the grand final for the Spencer Gulf and, because the football league had to vacate the oval—which they agreed to—both our Port Pirie teams will be playing in the grand final in Port Augusta. I know the local junior soccer association has been extensively promoting this event and needs to be congratulated.

My appreciation also goes to the two local soccer clubs in Port Pirie—Savoy and Virtus—who have worked tirelessly with the Port Pirie Junior Soccer Association to make this event happen. I would like to pay my great appreciation to the junior soccer association in Port Pirie, especially Phil Amato, the chairperson of the local association, and also Kylie Crouch, who whilst not on the association committee, put her hand up to ensure that this event could be undertaken. Well done, Kylie.

Port Pirie, as I have mentioned in this house previously, is ideally positioned because of our location to facilitate events such as those being held this weekend. Looking forward, I believe that our community, our council and everybody need to far more aggressively seek more sporting events that will not only showcase the excellent playing facilities that we have in our region, and be of great economic benefit to our community, but also allow those visiting to see the great work that has been undertaken and the very attractive Southern Flinders Ranges.

I also want to promote the fact that interest in junior soccer in Port Pirie is increasing tremendously and the sport is getting far more popular. I want to congratulate both the soccer clubs there on their participation. In closing, again my very sincere thanks to everyone who has been involved in bringing this event to our community. I look forward to seeing it and visiting all the games over the two days.