Originally written by SIMON BAMPFIELD
THE Portland Junior Football Association has shown concern over the South West District Football League’s decision to adopt an unofficial trial under-12 Auskick competition.
The decision from the South West is purely on a trial basis and will be two 15-minute halves.
President of the South West District Football League Wayne Nunn has stressed that its just to get kids having a kick of the football.
“South West netball has introduced under-15 and under-13 competitions at the moment, and I have seen a lot of kids on the ground kicking the football at half-time and so forth, so I thought it would be good to give them a kick in an unofficial competition instead,” Nunn said.
The players would need to be Auskick registered which would cover them for insurance purposes and Nunn added that they would not need to re-register with their PJFA clubs the following day.
“If it’s run under the Auskick banner then they won’t have to, they will still have to be registered for Auskick which covers their insurance.”
If the players are coming from the current Portland Junior Football Association under-12 format, PJFA secretary Cheree Meulendyks is worried where it will end.
“If the kids are coming from us, it would deplete our under-12 competition,” Meulendyks said.
“And of course we are concerned, after these kids finish the under-12′s will they (South West) start up an under-14 competition?”
The junior association has run the under-12 competition for the past four years.
Nunn stated that the South West had no intentions of forming a junior competition, but noted the league had to be ready in case of restructuring happened in the area.
“If the Western Border don’t alter, I can’t see us doing it, but if they change then the junior competitions in Western Border areas might be in trouble and the South West will have to pick up the slack,” Nunn said.
The Western Border Football League, for the past few years anyway, has had pressure to change its structure to include a junior competition such as under-16 and under-14 teams.
“The Western Border, the South Australian sides anyway, have been pushing for a junior competition for years, but the Victorian-based teams haven’t allowed it to happen and it would be a shame if this competition wasn’t around because there are clubs here that have been around for 50 years,” Meulendyks said.
Even if the competition is unofficial Meulendyks is still worried that numbers will be dramatically reduced.
“We’ve probably got 150 kids at the moment, and there will be some that will play both days, but I think there will be a lot that won’t.
“Perhaps a lot of the parents of these kids, who do play football and/or netball with the South West clubs, won’t allow them to play both days and just leave Sunday’s as a day off.”
Victorian Country Football League Western Area Manager Brett Anderson wasn’t aware of the proposed competition.
“It is the first I have heard of it, obviously the more junior football played the better, but numbers were down the last couple of years in the Portland Junior Football Association, they seem to be good this year and the competition seems to be good as well,” Anderson said.
“It might have to be a case of the two competitions working together and making sure that the junior competition isn’t affected.”
The teams will not necessarily run out in the South West club colours with Sandford already stating that it can borrow a set of jumpers from a school.
Nunn noted that not all players will need to be in club colours.
Many players already have jumpers in club colours and if they do not then it would not be an issue.