Sport

Junior future focus

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June 13, 2017

AFL Goulburn Murray general manager Martin Gleeson.

The AFL Goulburn Murray Commission will discuss the future of junior football.

The Future Directions Project was launched on Friday and aims to build on recent reviews into the Shepparton District Junior Football League and Seymour District Junior Football League.

AFL Goulburn Murray general manager Martin Gleeson said the project would be a key focus for the commission.

‘‘Eight different leagues provide opportunity for over 4500 footballers to compete in the under-18 and below age groups and, whilst there is significant overlap, each of the leagues have different structures and operating environments,’’ Gleeson said.

‘‘This project will investigate these similarities and differences and bring together representatives from each league to share dialogue with a view to establishing a common path forward.

‘‘The first key undertaking of the project is to conduct a survey of all clubs in the region to gather opinion and data.

‘‘The online survey has been released and all clubs are strongly encouraged to complete the survey prior to the June 27 deadline to make sure they contribute to the process.’’

The project has broken down its priorities into key areas — participation, community, engagement, fan development, talent pathways (TAC Cup and VFL), facilities, people and culture and sustainability.

A steering committee has been set up, with Gleeson, AFL Goulburn Murray commissioners Nicholas Rolfe and Greg Freer and development managers Mark Lambourn, Trevor Mellington and Greg Liddell.

The project will involve all leagues in the region and is due for completion in December.

The structure of junior football has been a talking point for a number of years, with the Goulburn Valley and Kyabram District leagues different to Murray and Picola District leagues.

PDFNL board member Colin Senior told The News last week all leagues should go down the same path as the competition he is associated with.

The MFL and PDFNL have under-14 and under-17 competitions, while the GVL and KDFNL only have under-18s.

The PDFNL is also looking to introduce an under-11 competition next year as a way of keeping players loyal to clubs from an early age and developing one-point players under the player points system.

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