The Club owes a great debt to its senior partner and forebear – the AJAX Amateur Football Club. The senior club was formed in 1957 and throughout its history has been a proud member of the Victorian Amateur Football Association. Between 1980 and 1982 the senior team competed in A Grade, the highest level of amateur football in the state. The AJAX seniors financed and encouraged the formation of its junior counterpart in 1972.
With the growth and development of little league football in the 1960’s it became inevitable that a junior offshoot, the formation of the AJAX Junior Football Club by Abe Isaacs – the inaugural president and its first life member, Graeme LeBransky and Don Finklestein became a reality. The number of boys playing each Sunday afternoon was 40. Games were arranged against the JSFA teams that had a bye. Among the first batch of players was a diminutive rover named Robbie Kaye who was our first best and fairest winner and a future senior player. In 1973 The Club fielded six teams in regular competition from under 10’s to under 14’s and this expansion continued in the following year with almost 200 players participating.
In 1974 the under 10 team (CDJFL) with Ray Efron as coach and Trevor Cohen as team manager became the club’s first premiership team with Leon Burstin and Greg Pinkus Captain and Vice Captain. The 1975 Under 15’s went through the season undefeated in the Spartan League. Much of the credit for this effort went to Nathan Frydman (coach) and Anthony Pratt (captain). Stewart Baron from the Under 14’s had an outstanding season winning the Graeme LeBransky trophy for the outstanding AJAX player and being runner up in the Chelsea League best and fairest award. Stewart was able to continue this form in the following year captaining the Under 15’s to a flag.
In 1977 the Under 15's continued the run of premierships in this age group and most club teams made the finals. Ruckman Gavin Sekler won the competition best and fairest in Under 15's by a margin of over 10 votes.
Years of Growth
The Club continued its rapid growth in to the 1980's under President Maurie Ashkenazy with a steady expansion in teams and team numbers. In addition, AJAX contributed greatly to the general administration of junior football and at one stage three former committeemen occupied positions on higher bodies; Julien Velleman and Michael Isaacs (President and Vice President of the CDJFL) and Nathan Frydman (Vice President JSFA). In 1981 three teams made the finals and the under 9a team was undefeated. Training lights were installed at Princes Park at a cost of over $3,000 with the aid of strong fund-raising efforts.
Further improvement was made in 1982 with five teams making it through to the finals, Ray Keane was appointed the Club's first coach's supervisor and Michael Isaacs was awarded life membership after a decade of coaching and committee work. Martin Halphen was the Club Champion for a third consecutive time.
In 1983 AJAX fielded six out of a possible eight teams in the finals and in addition all Under 9 teams (which did not play for points) also produced good showings. The Under 11's (CDJFL) coached by Harry Pakin and captained by his son Elliot led for most of the season and played grandly to win the Club's first flag in six years. Less than an hour later the Under 10's coached by Jack Hoppe and captained by new Club Champion Phillip Goldberg won the first AJAX premiership in the JSFA (now WJFA). The Under 15's were also represented on grand final day but lost to a strong Edithvale/Aspendale combination. President Maurie Ashkenazy became a life member.
Season 1984 saw Club membership pass 300 and the Under 11 Jets won their second consecutive flag to become the first AJAX team to win back to back premierships. The under 10 Jets and Under 12's also made the finals.
There were no premierships in 1985 but it was a very satisfying year with five teams playing off in the finals and two - the Under 11 Comets and Under 12 Comets making it to grand final day at Edithvale. Off the field, Club's administration functioned well in Maurie Ashkenazy's final year of a record term as president. For the first time the club operated under a written constitution and by-laws resulting in improved operational efficiency. Socially, the club actively encouraged pie nights and the keeping of Kashrut was essential at all Club social functions. The Club also conducted a successful review dinner dance entitled 'Edelsten - The Musical". Another highlight was the playing of two matches under lights at South Melbourne in place of matches, which were originally scheduled, to co-incide with Shavuot.
Season 1986 must go down in history as the most successful in the Club's history. AJAX won the L.J. Hart Memorial Trophy awarded to the CDJFL's champion club. It was represented in every age division final of that competition winning flags in Under 11 and 13 grades and being runners up in Under 14. Paul Steiner (under 10) and Phillip Goldberg (under 13) won the competition best and fairest awards with Phillip gaining a remarkable 41 votes from a possible 42 whist Marcus Chrapot (under 12) was runner up for the second consecutive year. Under the presidency of Harry Pakin the Club inaugurated a football camp at Ballarat in the May school holidays and continued the Club's successful policy of providing a closely knit club through excellent social activities which in turn reflected well on the field.
The 1987 season saw a new look committee under new president Harry Lewski and the age groups Under 12 to Under 15 all made the final series with only the Under 14's getting through to the Grand final losing to a very strong Oakleigh Districts. David Gelbart of the Under 10's won the CDJFL best and fairest award, which was a remarkable effort as his team had little success during the season. Phillip Goldberg shared the Club Champion award making it his fifth successive victory and this was achieved despite missing almost half the season with a hamstring injury. The club revived the very successful Junior Jackas Supporters Club and continued with the Ballarat camp. Long serving Club secretary Jack Chrapot retired and received a well-deserved life membership for his untiring efforts of behalf of the Club.
The Club became an incorporated body in 1988 and is now called the AJAX Junior Football Club Inc. The minimum age limit for membership was increased thereby limiting the club to two Under 9 teams. The Under 9 Comets won the inaugural Moorabbin Saints Junior Football League (an amalgamation of the CDJFL and St Kilda League) lightening premiership whilst David Alperstein returned to coach the Under 13's to an undefeated season and a great premiership victory over St Francis. The Under 12's who were knocked out of the race in the preliminary final were the only other team to make the finals. Under 14 player Marcus Chrapot became the first AJAX junior to reach 150 games whilst Under 12 player Julian Kirzner represented Victoria in the national primary schools championship.
During the 1989 season the Club's training facilities were upgraded and brilliant lighting now illuminates Princes Park on training nights. Long serving committee man David Landau was appointed President of MSJFL, Ricky Hartman was selected to represent Victoria in the national Under 16 carnival, Paul Zaltsberg was made Vice Captain of the Victorian Primary Schools team and Arik Singer narrowly missed out on winning the Under 13 best and fairest award.
The Under 9 Comets coached by Hank Ritterman proved too strong for the other teams made the finals with the Under 14's being eliminated in the first final. The Under 13's coached by Anthony LeBransky and Mark Zuker made it to the grand final losing by only six points in a close game. Howard Epstein, Jack Hoppe and David Landau were awarded Life memberships for their many years of service to the club. Jack Hoppe remains the most successful coach produced by AJAX with three flags form four years between 1983 and 1986.
The Under 9 Comets coached by Simon Raleigh retained the WJFA lightning premiership Trophy for the Club and Mark Zuker coached his Under 14 team to a premiership in the MSJFL without losing a single match during the season. Paul Zaltsberg, Under 13's won the MSJFL best and fairest award shared his team's best and fairest award with David Gelbart and was Club Champion for 1990. New President Allan Jankie worked very hard and received great support from his committee, which ensured a successful and smooth running 1990 season.
In 1991 the Club achieved a record number of player registrations - 340. The Under 15's coached by Mark Zuker successfully defended their premiership flag from the previous year and full forward Julian Kirzner kicked a Club record of 106 goals for the season including a record 20 goals against Murrumbeena. The Club's unlucky team was the Under 14's coached by Anthony LeBransky, who tragically lost their grand final with a kick after the siren against Ormond Blues who had not lost a match in the past two seasons. Paul Zaltsberg under 14 and Jason Bram under 15 were voted best on ground in their respective interleague appearances in Adelaide. Harry Lewski became a Life Member of the Club for his many years of service.
The Club moved its training grounds to Dendy Park in 1993. Five teams made the final series with the Under 12 Jets showing great improvement over the year before going down to Moorabbin United in the Grand Final. Jason Rapke won the best and fairest in the Under 11 East competition. 13 teams, a record number, were fielded in competition by the Club.
Errol Kaplan was awarded Life Membership. Phi Lewis took over the reigns as Club President and the club enjoyed a highly successful year with the Under 14's (coached by Henry Ritterman) going through the season undefeated to win a highly deserved premiership. Under 12 players Jason Rapke and Jason Ritterman represented Victoria in the National Primary Schools championship while another former junior state representative, Julian Kirzner, made his AFL debut for Essendon at the age of 17.
The AJAX Junior Football Club fielded 12 teams in season 1995, in the MSJFL with seven of the eight teams playing competitive football making the finals and two sides - the Under 13 Comets and Under 15's winning flags while the Under 12 Jets were gallant as runners up losing their grand final by five points. The Under 13 Comets coach Adam Hoppe emulated the premiership winning talents of his father Jack. The Under 15's proved their class and made it back to back premierships.
Several player featured in best and fairest awards with Jeremy Dukes and Andrew Jackson (under13 Comets) finishing in first and second positions respectively. The Club also successfully introduced the Vickick concept in conjunction with its Clinic for juniors.
The 25th year of Club's operations was highly successful with many teams making finals appearances with the Under 11 Comets under Adam Hoppe, playing off in a grand final, gallantly losing to the strong Beaumaris side. Ari Lewski from the Under 13 Comets won the MSJFL best and fairest award by a margin of four votes and displayed outstanding promise for the future. The Club also expanded its Vickick (now Auskick) clinic and had record numbers attending throughout the season. At year's end an open forum was conducted to establish ways of further improving what is now looked upon as one of the most progressive and innovative junior sporting clubs in Australia. As a result of this strategic open forum conducted by the committee, in 1997 the Club implemented a skills program devised by newly appointed Football Director Alistair Clarkson.
Under 14 player Ari Lewski won his third Club Champion award after another outstanding season, also finishing runner up in the MSJFL polling best on ground in all but one game played.
Junior Club president Phil Lewis and Senior Club president Mark Feldy took the first steps to forge closer ties between both clubs. The first stage was the pooling of club sponsorships and the combination of both clubs in the yearbook. The Auskick clinic continues to grow at a record rate with numbers exceeding over 120 children. Due to lack of numbers in Under 16's combined under 16/17 side formed for the first time. Mark Zuker and Allan Jankie were awarded Life Membership for many years of outstanding service. Former junior player Darren Sutton easily won the best and fairest for VSFL team Prahran Dragons.
Under new president Brandon Givoni, 1998 saw success for the club, with Mark Zuker coaching the Under 14's to a premiership and also the Under 12's coached by Peter Frayman also winning a flag. The Under 15's played their first game in round 4 due to a lack of numbers early on. Coached by Mark Louis they won their last seven matches to reach the grand final, but were unsuccessful on the day. The Under 13 Comets and the Under 10 jets both made it to the preliminary final. Under 15 player Elliot Janover was Club Champion after an outstanding year both with AJAX and as Deputy Vice Captain of the Under 15 Prahran Dragons carnival team. Close links with the Senior Club were further strengthened with senior players David Gelbart and Jonathan Segal coaching the Under 13 Comets and Ben Lewski and Peter 'Rocky' Rockman were all awarded Life Membership after many years of outstanding service to the Club.
In 1999 the Under 14's again won the premiership coached by ex junior player Ben Lewski. The Team dominated their section finishing on top of the ladder with only one loss for the season. Clinton Yudelman of the Under 14's was the Club Champion after and outstanding season that saw him make the MSJFL Interleague side and rewarded by the umpires with best on ground in the Grand Final. The Under 15's also recorded a fantastic win in their semi final and the Auskick clinic with its 130 children moved to the Duncan McKinnon Reserve. Last Year's Under 16 best and fairest winner and former club champion Jeremy Dukes played in a premiership for Prahran Dragons, after holding down the key centre half forward position all year. The 17 year old was also invited to the AFL's draft camp before the national draft.
The New Millenium
The 13's and 16's both lost their preliminary finals and the Under 14's showed incredible courage and skill to bounce back and win their Grand Final against arch rival Dingley. Our First Club Champion Award for this new millennium is shared by Mark Chester (under 14) and Grant Lewis (under 15). Both boys represented AJAX with distinction in the MSJFL Interleague team. President Brandon Givoni has decided to retire after 3 years at the helm as does his brother, Deon after over 5 years as Club Secretary having taken over the job mid-way through the 1995 season. Both Brandon and Deon Givoni were both awarded Life Membership for their outstanding service to the Club.
Season 2001 saw David Pinkus take over the reins as the 10th President of the Club and Nigel Markov as Club Secretary. It was a year of consolidation and planning that will allow the committee to introduce new initiatives next year that will pave the way in area's of coaching and administration. The Club has further strengthened its ties with the senior's clubrooms and facilities at Albert Park. The U14's for the fourth year running won the Grand Final. Their "No Regrets" final's campaign showed the determination and courage of a truly dedicated team. Coached by ex junior player Gavin Kaplan. Daniel Markov won the Club Champion Award for 2001 after a successful season that included him winning the U14 Best and Fairest. Our Auskick Program continues to be successful with over 140 registrations.
In 2002 the Club moved the under 9's to 13's home ground to Albert Park to join the under 15s & 16s who moved last year. Attracting the right coaches continue to be the focus and we are delighted to have so many senior or ex-senior footballers coaching our kids. With these moves the committee strengthens 'the bridge' between the junior and senior football clubs by working off each other, whist providing better facilities for players and spectators. This year also saw a record number of kids play football for the club. In excess of 390 kids registered to play with club, including over 120 kids registering for Auskick. Peter Thurin was awarded Life Membership for his tireless efforts in restructuring Football Operations as Chairman of the Match Committee. The under 14 team won their Grand Final to make it five in a row with the added bonus of being the champions of the higher East division. Corey Jankie won the Club Champion Award, U14 Best & Fairest and Best on ground in the U14 Grand Final.
2003 was another strong year for the club with 410 kids registered to play. We fielded 12 teams of which 4 played in the finals with a premiership to our Under 13 Comets. Corey Jankie had another outstanding year winning not only the Club Champion for the second successive year but also the MSJFL under 15 competition Best and Fairest. Michael Karp was warded life membership for his many years of outstanding service at the helm of fundraising.
2004 saw our numbers continue to grow to 470. For the first time we fielded an under 17 side in addition to an under 16 team. This will ensure the numbers flowing through to the seniors will continue to swell. We had only 3 teams making the finals with the Under 13 Jets making the grand final. Corey Jankie continued to be the stand out footballer winning another Club Champion award with Daniel Halprin and Dean Wollner winning their respective MSJFL best and fairest awards.
2005 was a year of highlights for the AJFC. 360 boys took the field to play underage football in 13 sides while 180 boys participated in our Auskick clinics. For only the second time we fielded an U17's side which played with distinction to reach the finals. Our U11's, 13's and 14's also made the finals with the U11's "winning the flag". David Pinkus retired as President and was awarded Life Membership for his tireless efforts. Ralph Wollner took over the presidency. Mark Shnider, Josh Ludski, Brett Joffe and Dean Wollner all played with distinction in MSJFL representative teams. Corey Jankie distinguished himself by being selected to play with Sandringham Dragons. Daniel Freed capped of an outstanding junior career by winning the U17's MSJFL best and fairest whilst Daniel Halprin was runner up in the MSJFL best and fairest in the U12's. Daniel Freed was named club champion.
Some years are remembered for the achievements on the scoreboard. 2006 will be remembered in other ways. Our U14 Jets were the "Mighty Ducks" of the club. They didn't win on the scoreboard but they were enthusiastic and committed up to the very end. Registrations were as strong as in previous years but the distribution in ages suggests the club will be strong for years to come. 4 teams played finals footy. 12 kids were selected to train with TAC Cup development squads. Daniel Halprin played in the U13's MSJFL interleague side. Josh Ludski was runner up in the U15's MSJFL best and fairest. Dean Wollner was runner up in the MSJFL U14's best and fairest, played interleague and won the Club Champion award. Paul Shnider was awarded life membership for his outstanding achievements and continued contribution to the club.
2007 has been touted as our most successful year both on and off the field. 8 of our 13 teams played off in finals, with 6 teams reaching Grand Finals and 3 successful Premierships in the U9's (Jets), U14's & U17's. We also had Nicholas Lewis (U12's), Dean Wollner (U15's) and Warren Steinberg (U17's) all win their divisional "Best & Fairest" awards. Paul Shnider took over as President and the club fielded teams in all age groups from U9's through to U17's. Asher Burstin and Nathan Zielinski both represented the U13 MSJFL interleague side, while Leon Burstin was selected as the interleague coach. 17 players were selected in the Sandy Dragons development squads, while Warren Steinberg was named Club Champion. Graeme Le Bransky was recognized for his outstanding achievements in the original development of the junior club by being awarded life membership.
2008 saw the club continue to grow at record levels. 14 teams, 350 registered players and a strong Auskick group takes our membership to well over 500. Highlights for the season included Premierships for both our U11 Jets & U12 Comets, Runners-Up honours for the U10 Comets and U13 Jets and finals appearances for both our U16 & U17 age groups. Nick Lewis followed on from his Best & Fairest success last season by winning the U13 East Division Best & Fairest and was also named our Club Champion. Both Nick Lewis and Jonah Gandur represented the MSJFL Interleague U13 team, while Nathan Zielinski and Jarrod Nankin were selected for the U14 group. 10 players were also selected in the Sandy Dragons development squads.
2009 continued the current trend with 5 teams making Grand Finals and Premiership success for our U11 Jets & U16's. Four players won MSJFL Best & Fairest awards including Jordan Cohen (U11 Comets), Ashley Krakauer (U11 Jets), David Bookman (U12 Comets) and Nick Lewis (U14's). 14 Teams, with 350 registered players complimented by 240 Auskick registrations saw the club grow to 590 members which easily eclipses previous participation records. Theodore Rosenthal was selected for the MSJFL U13 Interleague squad, while Nick Lewis and Dean Rotenberg were selected at U14 level and Jarrod Nankin, Nathan Zielinski & Asher Burstin at U15 level. The club had 14 players selected for the Sandy Dragon development squads. Nick Lewis was named Club champion for a second straight year.
2010 was another year of significant growth and continued success. 17 teams with 394 registered players combined with a record 270 Auskick registrations gave the club a membership of 664. Highlights for the year includes a Premiership for our U12 Jets, Grand Final appearances for our U9 Stars & U11 Jets and finals action for our U10's & U17's. Two players won MSJFL Best & Fairest awards including Jacob Teperman (U11's) & Zev Aron (U17's). Ashley Krakauer was 3rd in the U12 award after missing 4 games. Players to represent the club at interleague level included David Bookman, Benjamin Michelson, Toby Fisher & Jamie Sackville at U13's, Theodore Rosenthal, Ben Schwartz, Ezra Hertsberg & Yasha Gurevich at U14's, Dean Rotenberg, Nick Lewis, Jonah Gandur & Jeremy Forbes at U15's. Ashley Krakauer was named captain of the Victorian National School Championships team. Players selected to the Sandy Dragons development squads include Jarrod Nankin, Jordy Bade-Boon, Jonathan Goldberg & Nathan Zielinski at U16 Level, while Nick Lewis, Dean Rotenberg, Jeremy Forbes, Jonah Gandur, Josh Silver, A.J. Thurin, Jayden Yarrow, Tal Keder & Ben Sher were selected at U15 level. Paul Shnider stepped down as President after 4 years, while Mark Mitchell and Andrew Shenker were both awarded Life Membership for outstanding service to the club. Ashley Krakauer was named Club Champion.
In 2011, for the first time, we fielded 18 teams including three at the U9, U10 and U14 age groups, accommodating 421 players. A further 258 boys and girls took part in AJAX Auskick – successfully coordinated for a final time by Daniel Antman. Six teams represented the Club in finals. Our U12 Jets and U17s both won premierships with Asher Berlinski and Mendy Mochkin voted best on ground in their respective games, while our U10 Stars won the flag in their group of the Under 10 Lightning Premiership Carnival. Winning MSJFL Best and Fairest awards, in the top divisions of their age groups, were Mendy Mochkin (U17 Premier) and Ashley Krakauer (U13 East). Selected to play in interleague teams were Ashley Krakauer, Jordan Cohen, Jordan Benge and Kane Nissenbaum (U13s), Toby Fisher (U14s), Theo Rosenthal, Ben Schwartz and Jesse Velleman (U15s). Nick Lewis, Dean Rotenberg and AJ Thurin were selected in Sandringham Dragons U16 development Squads. 2011 was notable for the adoption of a new common logo with the Senior Club, and memorable for the need for two venues – playing U14-U17 games at Glenhuntly Park while Oval 1 at Princes Park was resurfaced. An expanded and active committee led by new President Mark Davis oversaw a successful season, with the support of new Club Sponsor Teska Carson.
2012 was a watershed year for the club with a record 19 teams and a total of 463 registered players. A record 320 Auskick registrations resulted in a total number of 783 members. Significantly, AJAX fielded its first girls team (The Jackettes) in the U12s and they were most competitive throughout their season. Three teams secured Lightning Carnival Premierships in their respective groups: U9 Stars, U10 Comets and U10 Jets. The U13 Comets were agonisingly close in their Grand Final whilst the U16s featured in a Preliminary Final. The U11 Stars, U12 Jets and U17s also made the finals in 2012. Players selected to play at interleague level and development squads were Asher Berlinski (U13 Div 1), Ashley Krakauer, Jonah Wise and Jordan Benge (U14 Div 1), Jordan Cohen, Kane Nissenbaum and Bradley Carp (U14 Div 2), Benjamin Michelson (U15 Div 1), David Bookman (U15 Div 2), Theo Rosenthal and Ben Schwartz (U16 Div 1) and Nicholas Lewis (TAC U18). Ashley Krakauer was also awarded player of the championships and, in addition, won the best & fairest award in the U14s. Congratulations to Asher Berlinski and Campbell Hymans who finished in the top three in U13s and U12s. Mark Davis stepped down as President and Dan Antman assumed the reigns.
In 2013, strong registrations continued with 428 players and 18 teams (including an U15 Girls team), with more than 300 involved in Auskick. Highlights of the season included Premierships for the U16s and U9 Stars in their Lightning Carnival. Four other teams, U11 Comets, U12 Stars, U13 Comets and U15 Comets also made the finals. Nicolas Taranto in his first year with the club won the U11 North Division Best & Fairest whilst Harrison Hymans finished in the top 3 in the U15 Division 4 Best & Fairest. Adam Ossip, in his first year of junior football was selected for the U13 Division 1 interleague squad whilst Campbell Hymans (U13 Div 2), Asher Berlinski (U14 Div 1), Jake Liberman (U14 Div 2), Jeremy Bassat (U14 Div 2), Ashley Krakauer (U15 Div 1), Jonah Wise (U15 Div 1) and Kane Nissenbaum (U15 Div 2) were all invited to participate in their respective age levels. In addition, Benji Michelson and Toby Fisher were invited to train with the U16 interleague squad. Ashley Krakauer was also recognised with a Coaches Award at interleague level. It was a remarkable year for Anthony Le Bransky who not only coached the U16s to a flag but also was recognised for his long and distinguished service with the club by being awarded Life Membership. Benji Michelson was named Club Champion to go along with his captaincy of the U16 premiership team.
We fielded 426 players in 18 teams in 2014. This included a hybrid U13 girls team (with St Kilda City and Ormond) and our first ever U8s team which was a tremendous success. Six teams played off in finals, capped off by a premiership to the U13 Comets who remained undefeated for the entire season. The U9 Jets also won the Lightning Carnival Premiership. The U17s played in Div 1 and made it all the way to the preliminary final, going down by just 15 points. Four other teams, U12 Jets, U12 Comets, U14 Jets and U15s also made the finals. Nicolas Taranto won the U12 North Division (and team B&F) for the second consecutive year whilst Dean Spilkin won the U15 Div 2 Best & Fairest. Toby Lipton (U13 Div 3) and Adam Ossip (U14 Div 2) finished in the top three in in their respective divisions. Congratulations to the following boys who were selected to participate in the interleague squads: Ashley Krakaeur (U16 Div 1), Kane Nissenbaum, Jordan Benge & Jordan Cohen (U16 Div 2), Ari Syber (U15 Div 2), Adam Ossip (U14 Div 2), Toby Lipton & Hudson Levine (U13 Div 1) and Benji Krongold (U13 (Div 2). For the second consecutive year, Benji Michelson (U17s) was named Club Champion, a wonderful achievement. Off the field, the club formally announced the creation of AJAX Football Club Victoria Incorporated (AFCV), a merger of the club’s senior and junior divisions to oversee the future strategic direction of the club, with Gary Velleman as the inaugural Chairman, President Dan Antman and Vice-President Ronnie Lewis.