Approach to future of football on the Coast praised

Tasmanian Football Council general manager Jackson Hills says he is very encouraged by the attitude of both the NWFA and Darwin competitionsfollowing the first meeting between the two about the future of grassroots football on the Coast.
Nanjing Night Net

Club presidents and board representatives from both leaguesmet at Ulverstone on Sunday to discuss the futureof the game.

The meeting has come aboutfollowing three AFL Tasmania reviews in the past six years on the game at that level, as well as the recent release of the “Garlick Report”.

The meeting coveredjunior development and the nurturing ofyoung talent, as well as player, administrator and volunteer shortages.

Strategies to make the competition more even and the possible merger of both associations was also discussed.

Darwin president Barry Dunham and his NWFA counterpartWilfredWyllie said this was just the start of the conversation.

Another meeting is scheduled for three weeks time.

ON FIELD ACTION: Somerset’s Thomas Smith gets a quick handball away during Saturday’s clash with South Burnie in the Darwin league. Picture: Brodie Weeding

Hills said he was hoping to meet with both Dunham and Wyllie sooner rather than later.

“We’re very encouraged about the fact they have taken thisinitiative,’’ Hills said.

“We know those conversations aren’t easy, but it is good to see they have taken this step.

“They know their area much better than usand we want to work with them throughthis process, and we want to have a seat at that table for those discussions.

“There won’t be an iron fist approach from us.”

Dunham said the meeting was ‘’a step in the right direction” for the leagues with plenty of ideas presented and lots of ‘’positive conversation’’.

Both the Darwin and NWFA havehad issues with player numbers and lopsided results this season.

“This is sort of thing that should have been happening six years ago, but you could see that there was this enthusiasm from all the clubs insitting back and discussing the opportunitiesthat may arise,’’ he said.

“The other thing I was happy about which came out of yesterday was that the clubs are more than happy for the boards of theleagues to keep working towards the future, whether that is as one assocation board ot two assocation boards.”

The “Garlick Report” into Tasmanian football, prepared by former Western Bulldogs chief executive Simon Garlick, specifically mentioned grassroots footy in the North-West.

The report recommended areview of leaguestructures, which would see a ‘’consultative, gradual and transparent process to bring about the reduction in the total number of leagues on the North-West Coast’’.

Sunday’s meeting was scheduled before the release of the “Garlick Report”.

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