Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Junior footballers get ready for season ahead

Changes have been made to nurture the ranks of Rochester Junior Football Club, Rochester Minis and AFL Auskick into the future.

ELAINE COONEY March 5, 2014 4:06am

Rochester Junior Football president Brett Wileman and AFL Auskick co co-ordinator Davis Keenan practise the skills they pass on to younger players.

Rochester Junior Football Club, Rochester Minis and AFL Auskick leaders have joined forces to make an exciting sports Sunday.

The organisations will play at the Rochester Recreation Reserve on Sundays and changes have been made to suit the players.

Junior president Brett Wileman said a revamp of the way the club operated was essential because numbers dropped off in the under 12s football and Auskick.

He said the organisations discovered children aged eight to nine were dropping out of football and believed they had outgrown Auskick, which they started in prep.

It came to a point where there were not enough players to make two teams to play against each other.

Wileman said it was important to cater to the young player’s needs to keep them playing for as long as possible.

He was excited about introducing junior competitions to the under 12s teams which previously played friendly games among themselves.

He said some players were moving to smaller clubs to play competitively.

Wileman hoped the change would draw the players back to Rochester and attract others from the smaller clubs.

‘‘We will trial for one year playing competition in the Goulburn Campaspe Junior Football League,’’ he said.

He said children who were 10 by January 31, 2014, and no older than 12 by December 31, 2014, could take part.

Wileman said he looked forward to the possibility of triple-header games on the Windridge Oval on Sundays with the under 12s, 14s and 16s all playing after each other.

The Rochester Minis would also play games on the Windridge Oval on Sundays and would focus on playing against each other in soft contact games.

The children would be required to wear mouthguards and helmets.

Wileman said the intention was to keep children playing within their age bracket and encouraged children aged from eight to 10 to attend.

He said the Minis would play a game or two after the senior football throughout the season and travel to play at half-time of the Melbourne versus Carlton game on April 12 at the MCG.

He said Auskick would be the first event on a Sunday morning and hoped many of the children would stay around, support the other teams and observe the skills of older players.

Registration for the Rochester under 12s will be at the Windridge Oval today (Wednesday) at 4.30pm.

Auskick registration can be done online, but a representative will be ready to answer questions at the oval tomorrow.

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