Phoenix rise from the ashes of 2020 lockdown

From the ashes of the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia, rise the South Maitland Football Club Phoenix.  

Northern NSW Football's newest club is set to take part in their first competitive fixture this weekend when they face Newcastle University in the FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds. 

The Phoenix were founded in late 2020, with the concept of the club having come about during the COVID-19 lockdown period. 

The club was built on two principles; focusing on the development of players and coaches, but also reducing the cost to play - which is Principle IX of the XI Principles for the future of Australian football.

Based in Maitland - but playing out of Tenambit Park temporarily - the Executive Committee saw the growing area of Gillieston Heights as an opportunity to build a new club in the area. 

"Essentially we wanted to set up a club that focuses on development and also reducing the cost to play," President Brendan Hughes told

"Through sponsorships and fundraising, we're putting that money to developing coaches, reducing registration fees, and developing kids to play at a high level.

South Maitland FC Home Jersey
South Maitland FC Home Jersey

"We've seen at multiple clubs that parents step in and coach, but didn't really have much of an understanding of what was required. So we're looking to get participation higher, but also getting the development side of things higher with coaches and players."

In its first season, South Maitland will have three teams; a first-grade team in the Newcastle Zone League 2 as well as a reserve grade, and an under-16's side. 

And over the coming years, the aim is to keep on growing with teams from U-12's to U-18's, and also running MiniRoos programs. 

But the first big milestone for the club is playing in the FFA Cup this Saturday, which has come about through a lot of hard work from Hughes and his committee

"It's huge," Hughes added. "We've got guys who have been in the FFA Cup before, and it's a great opportunity for us. We take it very seriously, and we're heavily promoting it. 

South Maitland FC Away Jersey
South Maitland FC Away Jersey

"People get involved, people love to come and watch (the FFA Cup), and we've got a good following coming along to support.

"We've been a bit unlucky in trials, missing a few games due to wet weather, but on the day we'll be ready to go. 

"Even though we're the underdogs, we'll give it a red-hot go and hopefully we can get through a few of the rounds."

For more information about South Maitland FC, visit their website here.