Bellbrae, Victoria

The scoreboard at Bellbrae Reserve was made by builder Paul Leonard and real estate agent Dave Maher on the eve of the Aireys Eels very first game in April 2006.

“The night before the first game two brave parents ventured to the shed to fulfil their sole responsibility for the initial match, ” recalled founding president Justin Reeves.

“There were countless doubters on the first morning when upon our arrival we saw there was no scoreboard at Bellbrae Reserve.

“Much to our delight, and just in time, Paul and Dave pulled up in a  white panel van with the timber masterpiece and some bags of concrete.”

Aireys Inlet is a Great Ocean Road township between Lorne and Anglesea. The Aireys Eels play their home games 20 kilometres from the town, on the little ground in the hamlet of Bellbrae.

The Eels train on a patch of grass between the Aireys Inlet Skatepark and Painkalac Creek, where real eels are not too far away.

There has been a long campaign for Aireys Inlet to have its own oval. At one stage former Geelong president millionaire Frank Costa – the Aireys Eels number one ticket holder- was offering to chip in  a few dollars for an oval.

The Eels field under 10 and under 12 teams. The above score was the half-time score in the under 12’s final home game for 2011, against the Ocean Grove Collendina Cobras.

The Eels’ theme song was penned by local writer Gregory Day, author of the award-winning novel The Patron Saint of Eels.

The Eels are said to be very slippery in wet conditions. A close look at the number of nails on the scoreboard, though, suggests they are not allowed to score more than 99 points.

“The scoreboard is usually done by the kids,” said committee member Ross Umbers. “Quite often the scoreboard doesn’t match the official scoring done by the goal umpires – which can make things a bit interesting at the end of a close game!”

More about the Aireys Eels.

Game’s over and time for the real action – lining up for a sausage and a soft drink.

Photos courtesy of Ross Umbers and the Aireys Inlet Eels.

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