AFL GOULBURN Murray Commission’s Junior Football Future Directions Project, launched June 9, has a focus ‘to examine the structure and format of junior football in the Goulburn Murray region and design and recommend a model for the future’.
In a major undertaking, 27 community football representatives have been assembled into four project teams to discuss concepts, debate ideas and develop recommendations to be considered by the steering committee.
The launch of the project coincided with the release of an online survey which has been distributed to all clubs in the region.
On June 28 the four project teams came together for the first time and the survey results were presented before each team broke away to consider their key focus areas.
The release of this review has stimulated much discussion and debate, which is great.
It must be kept in mind, however, that any changes to the current structure will need to consider the broader impact.
For example, a scenario drawing attention in the public domain at the moment is the GVL playing U16s on Saturday prior to the U18s.
Lets play this out.
There are currently 20 teams playing in two U16 Sunday competitions in the region, 14 of them represent 10 GVL clubs.
Benalla (two teams) and Mansfield compete in the Wangaratta DJFL U16s.
If the GVL started U16s on Saturday morning and each club moved their Sunday U16s into the Saturday morning time slot, the Shepparton DJFL U16s would be left with four teams and the Seymour DJFNL would have six teams.
For these competitions to be unsustainable would actually result in reducing the overall participation opportunities at that age group.
This is without even considering travel implications, match timings are other considerations.
While this does not eliminate this as an option it is important that we consider the domino effect of change and this is just one example of the many scenarios that will be considered and discussed throughout the project.
Importantly, the review has a process in place to consult all stakeholders and engage clubs in the decision making.
Decisions made will be evidence based and the project is being delivered as per AFL Victoria guidelines to ensure it is engaging, thorough and equitable.
We are committed to the process and the Steering Committee welcome the input of football supporters and community members as we continue to evolve the structures surrounding junior football.
— Martin Gleeson,
AFL Goulburn Murray