Soccer to rival local league
LOCAL rugby league will come under further pressure with North Coast Football (NCF) moving to appoint a club development officer before April.
The appointee will mentor and assist soccer clubs with recruitment and retention of both players and volunteer staff.
“After seeing the Coffs Coast Advocate story on the weekend regarding the Country Rugby League Stakeholders Review, I immediately took up the situation with Northern NSW chairman David Eland and we determined to address issues as well,” NCF president Peter Rowe revealed.
“We are also looking at the idea of appointing participation officers to grow the game outside the usual registration fee base, thus taking pressure off the pockets of the mums and dads.
“We are constantly looking at ways to create pathways for our youth, as well as ways to do things better.”
Since the Sydney Swans last week announced their Northern Coastal AFL Academy would be in operation at Novotel Pacific Bay Resort by
February 8, recruitment of young footballers on the Coffs Coast appears to be turning into a battleground.
Even the Mid North Coast Rugby Union has signalled its intention to become more active in the recruitment market place (see story on Page 22) to trade in on the growth and high profile of the senior competition.
Rowe said he can understand why AFL is making inroads, particularly among parents who don’t have particular allegiances.
“AFL is cost effective for parents and comes across as a cheaper alternative,” he said.
“Without the need to spend money on international competition, they have a $9 million pot of gold from television revenue to lavish on recruitment and, in our case, it means we have to reduce costs to match them.”
As a former senior rugby league executive in England, Rowe is quick to express his love of the game.
“I don’t think those running bush league have any idea what a big
‘plus’ they have going for them
and don’t understand they can’t stand still.
“League has always taken its base for granted and never understood you have to grasp opportunities, particularly when there’s competition out there.
“Unless they get with it quickly, they’ll get run down in the rush.”