Legend joins North Coast board
AFL on the North Coast has received a huge boost thanks to Hall of Fame member John Rantall joining the AFL North Coast board to assist in the development and growth of the game.
In a coup for the code in the area, the board have grabbed a legendary player with an illustrious background that includes being selected in a Team of the Century for both South Melbourne/Sydney and North Melbourne as well as briefly holding the league’s all-time games record of 336.
Rantall is now a resident of Palmers Island, between Maclean and Yamba on the Clarence Valley and it’s hoped his experience at the top level will benefit all AFL North Coast clubs.
The AFL has seen rapid growth in Rantall’s area in the past 12 months with the Grafton Tigers entering a junior team for the first time and the Lower Clarence Eagles joining the North Coast Juniors.
The AFL Hall of Famer said this is not the first time he has assisted in the development of AFL in a State.
“I moved to Queensland in 1983 and that was virtually the first of the pioneering for Australian Rules in Queensland,” Rantall said.
“Quite a few well-known players like Alex Jesaulenko, Mick Nolan, Peter Morrison and myself, we were the first wave of ex-AFL players to move into a developing State and try to assist the promotion of AFL.
“Back in those days we were really in rugby league territory. I’m no stranger to trying to promote Australian Rules.”
With the introduction of the Gold Coast and Team GWS, it is now more accessible for people on the North Coast to get along to an AFL game.
Rantall doesn’t see other code’s expansion plans as a hurdle in the AFL’s quest to be established on the North Coast.
“There’s room for all codes, I’ve got no doubt about that,” he said.
“I don’t see it (AFL) as a threat to rugby league, just another option for kids to play. It gives kids another option, I’m just hoping it will be viewed like that by a lot of the parents, which I’m sure it will be.”