Sport

Moama widens its junior football pathway

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December 08, 2017

Some of Moama's new under 16 players - Todd Langborne, Shane Bell, Wade Hipwell (junior president), Luke Caine, Liam Kuiper and Callum Parsons.

MOAMA’S successful junior football program has added another team with an under 16 side to join the Shepparton District Junior Football League.

The club’s under 17s can’t stop winning premierships, winning the last four Murray Football League titles.

But with more than 50 kids in the age group, junior president Wade Hipwell said splitting the group in two made a lot of sense.

‘‘The junior club is purely about participation and development, and the whole idea of this is keeping our boys at the club and giving them opportunities,’’ he said.

‘‘There have been 50 kids in the under 17s, so we put in an application to the SDJFL. We did this because we need a long-term strategy — now kids will go from 14s to 16s and then 17s.

‘‘In their first season of 17s, kids were often playing once every four weeks, and then by finals they would miss out altogether.’’

Moama joins the Echuca Junior Football Club in the league, and Hipwell said it would benefit the entire club.

‘‘It’s a really good competition, and it’s just going to make the under 17s stronger as well,’’ he said.

‘‘The guys coming from 14s to 16s, they’ll stick together and develop together and really get the chance to learn each others’ games.’’

Hipwell said the job of the junior committee was to make sure the players had the chance to participate.

‘‘When I took over we really focused on keeping the kids as a priority. We all took our positions and made getting the boys on the field the focus,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s not about winning or anything, it’s mainly about our development and participation. And I think you can see the boys are heading up through the age groups and are still hanging around.’’

Moama joins the Shepparton based teams as well as Kyabram, Rochester, Tatura and Echuca in the competition.

Hipwell also announced Marty Baldwin would coach the team in its first season.

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