Originally written by MICHAEL HOWARD
MININERA and District Football League is expected to include an extra level of juniors in 2005 after a positive response at a round-table discussion.
At a meeting of junior club members and the executive at Lake Bolac, a strong push emerged for the introduction of an under-13s or under-12s competition to provide a building block into the league’s ranks.
The league is keen to add to its current three-tier football system of under-16s, seniors and reserves, a push that first emerged at the July 5 Mininera football forum when junior reform was a hot item.
Since then, the league and its clubs have reviewed the structure of their winter Saturdays.
Discussed at length have been calls for exchanging its under-16s with an under-17s competition and introducing a younger age group.
The first motion is expected to be defeated, but after support at the recent round-table discussion there is considerable optimism that Mininera will adopt a fourth grade at its annual general meeting on November 29.
“The idea of the junior meeting was to get some consistency before the annual meeting,” Mininera league president, David Watson, said.
“It was held so that we are all pressing in the one direction and not getting motions coming in from everywhere.”
Clearly, it has proven successful with Watson emerging from the discussion optimistic about the direction the league is heading in.
“From the meeting there appears to be a lack of support for changing the under-16s to under-17s, but there is a very strong push to have a modified under-12s or under-13s competition,” he said.
“That has received a lot of support. Already we have a motion tabled to the annual general meeting that the Mininera and District Football League holds a modified competition next year.”
The topic is certain to be the hot item at the November 29 agm, with Watson anticipating that change is on the cards.
“There is a lot of push for this and there appears to be a lot of support from the clubs,” he said.
Should the motion succeed, Watson said the league will act quickly to introduce a flexible, club friendly format.
“If the motion gets through, and I anticipate it will have a huge chance, then we will organise a sub-committee to draw up rules for the competition.
“Some clubs may only be able to come up with 12 or 14 players, but we want them to have a chance and want opportunities for them to go to modified rules or variable oval sizes.”
He said introducing an additional junior competition would be vital to filling a gaping hole in the district’s football development.
“The bit really missing in Mininera football is a big gap between Auskick and under-16s.
“So we will look to cover this and run the under-13s as a normal competition, with a ladder and the results in the paper so the kids can see there names in print.”
The motion has received the endorsement of the Hawkesdale-Macarthur Football Club, which thrust its support behind the proposal albeit with a desire to tinker with its final make-up.
“We are positive in that we definitely want the extra level of juniors, but we are concerned about a few things in regards to how it will be applied,” Hawkesdale-Macarthur representative, Jackie O’Brien, said.
“We don’t want to be leaving to go to the football at 7am on Saturday mornings. We would probably like to see it played at half-time of the seniors and don’t want an extra game before the under-16s, which would make the day too long.
“We are definitely for it, but want to see how it will work.
“I am confident we will be able to get numbers, but I don’t think most clubs will be able to fill the full 16, so obviously a modified style will be the consideration.”