Sport

Junior footballers wanted urgently

By Campaspe News

ROCHESTER under 16 football side remains undefeated, having breezed through their first two rounds.

But they have no points to show for it.

And they need help to change that.

Due to extremely low numbers, the team has been forced to ask several under 14s to play two games in a day to help fill the void.

But that’s only where the problem begins with the club borrowing players from Colbinabbin, Elmore, Rushworth and Stanhope in recent weeks.

If the issue continues, the effects won’t only be felt this year, but also in the long-term.

‘‘This is a problem which could filter through to the senior side down the line,’’ coach Nick O’Connor said.

‘‘The club doesn’t want to fold the under 16s and ask kids to immediately jump from the 14s to the 18s.

‘‘Doing that could be really detrimental for their development.

‘‘It would be the easy option to fold, but we’re not going to give in.’’

Even now, the problem is proving detrimental.

On some nights, O’Connor and his players are forced to train with the under 14s or 18s due to just five faces being in attendance.

‘‘It’s very hard to get a structure together,’’ O’Connor said.

‘‘The kids are at a stage where we want to teach them about game plans, but we can’t do that.

‘‘Unfortunately it’s what we are faced with, but they don’t deserve to be missing out.’’

In a bid to draw more numbers into the team, the club’s committee decided to place several senior players on the team’s coaching staff for 2019.

A move which has allowed O’Connor to reflect on his own childhood.

‘‘When I was a kid I always loved when the seniors come down to our training,’’ O’Connor said.

‘‘We really want to keep the gap between the juniors and seniors as minimal as possible.

‘‘It’s important for all our senior guys to be seen as friendly faces.’’