By Russell Bennett
WHO better to continue to build the family-friendly atmosphere at the St Francis Xavier Old Collegians Football Club than its new co-presidents – the husband and wife team of Leigh and India Hall.
The pair is SFX through and through and will take over the presidency in a joint capacity from Chris ‘Rupper’ Seuren – one of the most respected figures in local footy and someone who, like them, bleeds for the club.
Leigh has played more than 100 games for the club, including in a premiership, and he – along with India – is on the hunt for more players to join the club so it can field both seniors and reserves in 2017.
“We just thought we could bring a nice, fresh approach and look at the social side with families and kids,” Leigh said about taking on the role, with India adding: “We want to welcome wives, girlfriends, and kids into the club – make it a really fun place to be around.”
The other key component driving the club forward into a new era is new coach, and premiership captain Josh Lafranchi in his first role as a senior mentor.
Having played the bulk of his career at Narre Warren, the immensely popular 35-year-old also has stints at Gembrook Cockatoo and Warragul under his belt.
The X-Men mean as much to him as they do to the Halls and to Seuren.
“I don’t really know what to expect but I want to get the club back to where it should be both on and off the field,” Lafranchi said.
“Just about all of our players from this year will be back.
“The club keeps drawing you back in.
“You don’t want to give up on it.”
Lafranchi, affectionately known as ‘Horse’, said he’s looking forward to his first senior coaching role, adding that every player will start with a clean slate and gets the chance to prove their worth.
Leigh Hall spoke of the tightknit culture and family-friendly atmosphere, adding: “Everyone will get a game – we just want faces in jumpers,” he said.
“It’s more about what sort of person you are. If you come down, you and your family will never leave the place.”
Work commitments permitting, Leigh is hoping to play on in 2017 with India taking on the match day presidency role.
Seuren will continue to stay involved with the club and has already mentored Leigh and India through the infancy of their presidency.
“It’s a bit difficult because we can’t pay players but it’s just such a great place to be and we want anyone to come down – anyone who loves footy,” Leigh said.
“We just want people.
“When I first started there were 60-odd players there and I’d love to get it back to that.”
The X-Men are also on the hunt for a reserves coach for 2017.
Anyone in the area interested in becoming involved in the club in any capacity should contact either Leigh Hall on 0401 408 580 or Josh Lafranchi on 0418 452 161.