Cable thieves cast darkness over girls football at Clarkson oval

Quinns Districts Junior Football Club started holding girls matches on Friday nights following floodlight upgrades this season.
Quinns Districts Junior Football Club started holding girls matches on Friday nights following floodlight upgrades this season.

GIRLS football teams are having to find alternative venues for matches this Friday after recently-installed floodlights were damaged in an attempt to steal copper cables.

Quinns Districts Junior Football Club president Joe Murray said the City of Wanneroo contacted the club on Tuesday after someone ripped out cables from the floodlights at Anthony Waring Park.

Mr Murray said the club had paid for upgrades to the lights, which were completed a month ago, so it could hold female Friday night games at the Clarkson oval.

Anthony Waring Park.

“The lights at the moment are out of business until this time next week,” he said.

Mr Murray said about 50 nine, 10 and 11-year-old girls who were due to play their third match at their home ground this Friday, May 17 could not do so due to the damage.

“We haven’t cancelled them, but we have found new locations for them (in Joondalup and Alkimos),” he said.

Mr Murray said junior training sessions on weekdays had also been affected, with coaches having to either organise earlier starts before it got dark, find alternative locations or to cancel sessions this week.

“Tonight we should have five teams train between 4pm and 7pm – it gets dark about half five,” he said.

Floodlights working earlier this season.

“It’s just disappointing – we put all this effort into trying to help local kids play sport.

“Anthony Waring had floodlights previously which were okay for training but if we wanted to play an actual competition game at night, we need a certain level of brightness.

“The club paid for that happen; that was fully funded by the club.”

Community News understands a vehicle was used to try pull the underground cable out through a light pole.

The oval damage in 2018. Picture: Clarkson Police

Last season the club had to cancel junior training after someone used a ute to tear up the Anthony Waring oval, causing $7000 damage to the turf.

The club has about 800 junior members who play football every weekend, and Mr Murray said they expected that to grow with increasing female participation in the sport.

UPDATE, 4.50pm: City of Wanneroo assets director Harminder Singh said floodlights were damaged on Monday night when copper wiring was stolen.

Mr Singh said repairs were expected to be done by May 23 and could cost about $8000 to $10,000.

“When thieves remove the copper, they do so without care, so repair costs are often more than the initial installation costs,” he said.

“The theft has been reported to police.

“This is an issue across the metropolitan area at the moment with a number of sports fields being targeted and the community is encouraged to look out for any suspicious behaviour and report it.”

Mr Singh said the club had regular bookings at other grounds, which they could use while the lights were being repaired.

Clarkson police are investigating and asked people to report any suspicious activity from Monday, May 13 or early on May 14 to call the station on 9407 1000 or make a report to Crime Stoppers online or by calling 1800 333 000.