Thursday, June 12 2014 @ 08:23 am ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
I was going to simply comment in response to the article Wellington AFL Game Doubt? but decided this issue is so significant it deserves as much focus as possible.
So I repeat the title. Wellington simply must succeed.
If the AFL can successfully host matches in Wellington each year then that will complement the significant work being done in junior development across New Zealand and gradually, if done well, in a generation build support for the country to have its own AFL club. At that point the eyes of Australians will be truly opened to an international future for the sport.
Why is there a problem already in just the second year of this experiment? I think this is almost a case of being too greedy too quickly. The Wellington deal is a golden goose for St Kilda and the AFL but there's a real danger of immediately killing it in a breathtakingly short space of time.
The generous offer put on the table by Wellington council was amazing and gives the AFL an historic opportunity to secure a foothold in New Zealand to back up all the grassroots work being done. That grassroots work may never yield the large outcome many of us desire without having the shiny beacon of regular popular AFL matches to aspire to.
But to respect and nurture such an amazing offer requires a reasonable contribution in return.