Woodlands Wolves Softball Club basking in ‘old school’ community spirit


Ashlee, Brandon and Gary Hale with Ryan and Jasmine Stewart.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie           d468043
Ashlee, Brandon and Gary Hale with Ryan and Jasmine Stewart. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        d468043

“OLD school” community spirit has returned to the suburbs with the Woodlands Wolves Softball Club, the underdogs who won last year’s grand final and united a neighbourhood.

In 2015, a group of Woodlands and Wembley Downs dads decided to form the community softball team and entered themselves in the lowest division.

Fast forward two years and the Wolves have moved up two grades, won two grand finals and recently outgrown its home ground Birralee Reserve.

Club president and founder Gary Hale said the club was now a recognisable presence in the community.

“It is a bit of a brotherhood now, people in the community see us in the gear everywhere and they say, ‘oh it’s the Wolves’,” he said.

“We have become a known entity in the community and a trusted club.

“The first games were a bit ugly to say the least.

“We really didn’t know what we were doing, we didn’t even have pitchers, bats, gear or anything.”

The Wolves are now on the hunt for a training ground with adequate lighting and storage facilities.

Hale said because schools in the area were rapidly expanding, oval space was “disappearing”, but the club planned to work with the City of Stirling.

“The biggest challenge is access to grounds; you don’t want to be travelling outside of your community to have a community club,” he said.

“We have to work with the council on storage and light quality; we’ve got nowhere to put all the equipment. It is clear to us that (football) often seems to get precedence and we’re late to the party.”

Hale said the club would welcome their first two children’s teams this year and had grown from only 15 players in the first year to 53 registered players.

“The side effect of all this we didn’t plan for is the health of the dads, just to have a social environment, to have some down time, it’s been great because there is a real family friendly environment,” he said.