AFTER some conjecture during the week, Beechworth Football Club were able to secure enough players to field a reserves team on Saturday afternoon.
There were fears the club would not have enough players, after a review into a temporary prisoner release program, which allowed select prisoners to play football, was announced.
The Bushrangers have six regular players, two in the seniors and four in the reserves, who take part in the program.
Mr Thistleton said he was still in the dark about how long the review would take.
“I haven’t heard anything back from the minister yet,” he said.
“I want to keep a focus on it – if we say nothing and let it slide, nothing is going to happen until after the election.
“There was a lot of concern around town, they were wondering what was happening with the footy team.
“As it turned out, we were able to get a side together, it sorted itself out.
“The potential was there – early in the week, it wasn't looking good.”
The review into the program was announced after it was revealed one-punch killer Dylan Closter was playing near Shepparton.
The news prompted a ban on violent offenders taking the field.
Despite this, Mr Thistleton said support for the temporary release program was overwhelming in the Beechworth community.
“I don’t think I've met anyone from Beechworth who think it's inappropriate,” he said.
“People do understand that it's a really important part of their rehabilitation.
“They are out and about in town doing gardens, chopping wood for pensioners, they do a lot of community work.”
The club president the benefits were not limited to the prisoners – their experiences were also a sobering image for some of the club's younger players.
“It's not bad for these young fellas to realise that if I do silly things, I might end up there as well,” he said.
“It's a sobering thought for them, how their life could go off the rails quite easily.
“There's benefit to the club, the town, the prisoners in their rehabilitation, it's a win-win.
“I’ve never spoken to anyone who thinks it's a bad idea.”
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