A CRISIS is looming for local clubs in the Alberton, Ellinbank and Gippsland football competitions with many reporting low turnout numbers, especially in the junior grades.
Up to seven clubs in the Alberton league will not have either Under 16s or Under 18s football this season and Wonthaggi is also reporting great difficulty attracting under age players.
The same thing goes for Nyora and Poowong who both continue to battle for junior numbers.
Changes brought about by AFL Gippsland in recent years for no other reason than to achieve uniformity, rather than viability, have impacted the clubs.
The Ellinbank clubs say membership and participation has been affected at all levels since the league was forced to drop its Under 13s in 2014 and Alberton clubs say their preparations this year have been severely upset by the change in junior age groups this year.
What they say is ‘a one size fits all’ approach is not working.
The other thing that’s not working for the future of football is the lack of effort put in by the AFL at fostering the game at the grassroots level.
While they’re awash with cash from TV rights at the top level, with dozens of players on $1 million-plus annual contracts, the game is not attracting sufficient numbers locally.
Netball too, has an issue, but for completely the opposite reason. Girls wanting to play club netball can’t get a start with only 7-10 required for each team, as opposed to 25 per football team.
And, on another matter, the Bass Coast Shire Councillors who voted to delay work on the Surf Parade Inverloch Shared Pathway, should take the opportunity of tonight’s council meeting to issue a public apology to the council officers who prepared the original reports which supported a start to work there more than a year ago.
A new 70-page report by water, coastal and environmental consultants, Water Technology, backs the officers’ recommendations in full, noting the pathway will not be impacted by sea level rise until at least 2100, that there is little or no threat to the dune system and that the path actually presents an opportunity to improve the quality of vegetation on the edge of the foreshore reserve.
They might also like to apologise to the ratepayers while they are at it.
The new report needlessly cost tens of thousands of dollars to prepare.
And we saw again at the weekend how walkers, runners, bike riders, mums with pushers, kids going to the beach and others wandering back from the jazz festival at night were put at risk by this unnecessary delay.