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Doggies day out in Wellington
Authored by: Rod Shaw on Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 09:34 pm ACDT

Brett

Agree with you on all points. I love the fact there was finally a season after missing last year. It was a damn shame Eagles fell away so much in the intervening year that they couldn't see out the season. On the flipside the re-birth of the Demons was great.

One of the issues for local Leagues is with the great growth of AFLNZ carnivals and programs it provides opportunities for those who like to get involved off field to step up and do it for a short time with specific dates and generally young and enthusiastic kids in a not too political environment.

Running footy Clubs and Leagues is the polar opposite of this in most cases!

This flow of the few talented and interested people to the AFLNZ programmes from local Leagues(or the ones as they got involved that might have made a difference at local level) in these initial building years then causes a drastic shortage in the Clubs and Leagues of people prepared to put their hand up in an environment that is simply a lot tougher to be involved in.

The ship will right over time but at this stage I think the advantage is not being taken of the junior programs such as Hawks Cup, U 16 and U 18 tournaments that it could in turning basically talent searching programs in to really committed local footballers. I do not doubt this will change with a view to collective benefit and teamwork at local levels, but it simply takes time to develop that and to get enough people off field involved.

I think a key development is the return of a Reserves Grade to the all of the local provinces which has traditionally had a junior development angle in Wellington and Auckland anyway. Sure there will be a few over age players but each League will benefit from an entry point where more game time is available, players are of a similiar ability and usually of a similiar age. Auckland and Canterbury should aim for this in 2014, Wellington in 2015 after getting 4 teams to see out the season, Waikato needs a re-build and Otago further local growth.

The opportunities are there if the passion is!