Eastern Lions Junior Football Club, a club in excess of forty years old, has had to resort to offering fee free football in order to attract young players. In addition, should a player sign up prior to the start of the season, they will be entered in a draw for an iPad or sports voucher.
The Club has needed to take these steps due to the ‘intense’ (their word not mine) competition from soccer and basketball.
Several weeks ago, this column looked at Western Bulldogs President, Peter Gordon’s plea for the AFL to spend more money on grass roots football. As the person leading an AFL working group on junior participation rates, he reasoned that this investment was necessary due to inroads being made by soccer at the junior level.
It would seem that the plight of the Eastern Lions, and no doubt other junior Clubs, bears out exactly what Mr Gordon was saying.
One wonders how long it will take the AFL to react…….hopefully not as long as the NBL!