Inequality is the O and M’s greatest bugbear.
However, there’s a number of issues perceived as the biggest by the players.
While 10 said the gap between the top five and the bottom five was the major concern, participation numbers (six), the player points system (five), the money being offered by district clubs (five) and poor crowds (five) also had their share of support as the pressing matter in the league.
“I would have thought participation numbers would have to be the biggest problem,” Myrtleford co-coach Terry Burgess said.
“Even some of the strong clubs are struggling to get numbers to participate through reserves or under 18s at Ovens and Murray level.”
Myrtleford was forced to abandon its under 18s for this season.
“What it’s telling us is there’s not enough people playing the game,” Burgess said.
“Until they (football officials) rectify that, through either more participation or less clubs playing, that’s going to continue.
‘And you think the ability to find more players is probably limited.
“The fact that there’s programs in place, like Auskick, you wouldn’t think that’s going to change significantly anytime soon to filter in in order to fix the problem.”
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The coaching veteran says the game has changed enormously in his time.
“Footy once upon a time might have been number one priority behind family and work and maybe lifestyle,” Burgess said.
“I reckon footy’s nearly slipped to number four.
“In the old days, if you didn’t like a job, you’d go and get another one, you can’t do that today, so your job’s become a lot more of a priority in your life.
“What are some of the things you can do to protect that? Don’t get injured, take the overtime money without the risk.”
The gap between the top and bottom five has been a talking point all season.
However, North Albury deserves praise.
The Hoppers lost their games to the top four sides by an average margin of 65 points in the first half of the season.
Their clash against fifth-placed outfit Lavington was abandoned at the 19-minute mark of the first quarter where the Hoppers trailed by 23 points.
But with six rounds left, North is equal on points with Lavington with their clash on August 4 set to decide which club snares the final elimination final berth.
Poor crowds have also been in the limelight this season.
One player said at a recent game there were more players from his club than home spectators.
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