THE age groups for Colac district football’s junior competitions should come under review every two years, a club president says.
Forrest president Mick Paddick praised league officials for an inaugural junior football forum, which he said allowed clubs to openly discuss their problems with player numbers.
He said the forum should happen every two years, with clubs deciding the junior age groups for the following two seasons at the event.
“Some of the clubs were concerned it’s a bit narrow-minded, but every year is different, or every second year. You have to keep looking at it again,” he said.
Mr Paddick said trends in junior football – such as player numbers at clubs and strength in certain age groups – changed every two years.
“You can start the year with a full list but two rounds in five, six, seven guys are gone. It gives you a false impression,” he said.
“Say at the end of two years, that’d be safe, that’d be a good time to gauge trends and numbers.
“Ourselves and Lorne are really struggling way outside the other guys. Otway is doing well, Irrewarra didn’t have any concerns.
“We’d be the exception but everyone has been supportive of us.”
Mr Paddick’s view is in direct opposition to the Victorian Country Football League, which has to approve any change to the junior age groups of its member leagues.
VCFL south-west area manager Brett Anderson told the Colac Herald ahead of the forum the VCFL wanted to see evidence any change would work long-term.
“You don’t want to be changing them for the sake of it or on a yearly basis. You want to make the changes for the right reasons,” he said in September.
Mr Paddick said he understood the reasons behind the VCFL’s stance.
But he said keeping the same age groups from year to year would potentially disadvantage clubs which battled to field junior teams.
“In response to that, the other clubs, without proper planning, are nervous about having two byes, potentially Forrest and Lorne,” he said.
“If that comes on top of a bye there’s three weeks of football gone.”
Meanwhile, the CDFL’s player sharing concept for juniors could become formal at the CDFL annual meeting this month.
The concept was effective helping Forrest field its under-17 team this year by allowing it access to players from clubs flushed with numbers.
“Some of the clubs were hoping to formalise that arrangement,” Mr Paddick said.
“Ideally at Thursday night training you’d get a call from the opposing coach saying ‘we’re flushed with numbers’ and four guys would come across,” he said.