Welcome to the inaugural and exciting season of the Central Murray & Golden Rivers Leagues. The much anticipated merger of the Boards to form the Central Rivers Board has been occurring during the summer break.
· Our 19 clubs form two independent football & netball leagues; Central Murray comprising 11 clubs and the Golden Rivers with 8 clubs.
· The Central Rivers Board is responsible for the governance, support and development of the leagues’ clubs and monitoring the operations of the leagues, (Golden Rivers League and the Central Murray League);
- The AFL Central Murray Regional Administration Centre (AFLCM RAC) is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the CM & GR Leagues.
Following the 2018 Review of football and netball, recommendations to merge the Boards was ratified by all clubs, as well as, the development of a new Constitution, By-Laws and Policies.
These have been circulated to all clubs and published on our new website. The Central Rivers Board; five members from each league (Golden Rivers – Greg Bear, Scott McNeill, Zoe Ferrier, Ross Stanton, Central Murray – John Brookshaw, Gav Hore, John Keely, Neil Mesley, and Operations Manager – Sheridan Harrop) The Central Rivers Board currently has two vacancies which we would like to fill.
The Board Chairman is John Brookshaw and the Deputy Chair is Greg Bear.
Will you notice any changes? Superficially there are some cosmetic changes; all operations, including Golden Rivers netball will be managed by the RAC and not by a league sub-committee, for those reported there will be a single tribunal with a common set of rules, and our new by-laws and policies are a mish-mash of rules from both leagues. More importantly is the development of a common purpose across our leagues; implementing long term cultural change and co-ordination of our sports across our leagues with a common set of goals, established in our Strategic Plan addressing the issues identified in the Review.
Scarcity of volunteers and players was one of the key issues highlighted in the Review; consequently the Board and the Football Development Manager, David Alderuccio will be focussing on junior player development, recruitment and retention over the next five years. Our aim is to modify and align some club traditions with AFL policy and the research which supports this policy.
Primary importance for many clubs is the appointment of a senior football coach. Recruiters are out and about well before the season finishes looking at potential candidates and making covert overtures. When the season is completed and before Christmas, clubs announce their senior coaches for the following season. The recruiters and the senior coach then go about the arduous task of filling their senior team, like filling a Christmas stocking, with players who can fill any vacant role they have in their senior team. This elitist method of managing a football and netball club has helped contribute to the scarcity of players in our sports, by taking the focus from our junior development and recruiting.
These fly-in fly-out players contribute little to the longevity of our communities. They have a place in the scheme of a club’s success but not at the expense of developing local talent. Junior players, both football and netball, are the future of every club.
We know what young people want from their sport, to have fun and enjoyment, learn new skills and play with their friends, winning is a lower priority. Our coaches of junior teams must understand that this generation of young people have different priorities. Junior coaches should be your first priority when coaching appointments are made. Their role is critical to the longevity of your club.
Junior coaching appointments should be made at the end of each season in readiness for the following season. Players know their coach and if this person is a positive personality, existing players find it easier to recruit their friends. Gone are the days where opening your gates and ‘they will come’ hands-off attitude. Young people have plenty of options in their lives; your club must provide them with what they want. Our junior coaches must be well trained and understand the skills needed in a good junior coach. Football and netball groups within a club need to be co-ordinated; rejecting a netballer because you have too many in an age group results in a whole family leaving your club. Look for innovative ways to keep your young people engaged and your club being truly ‘family friendly’.
We need to address the culture in our clubs; if your club’s prime focus is on its senior teams at the expense of its juniors then a cultural change needs to occur if we are to address one simple example of scarcity.
Collectively, we have a responsibility to the next generation of young people to ensure our clubs survive and provide the community hubs we are currently enjoying.
Central Rivers Board