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Pups in trouble

Thursday, 7th March, 2013

North youngsters Tom Ragenovich (left) and Ethan Slater may not get a game this year because the club is struggling for support. North youngsters Tom Ragenovich (left) and Ethan Slater may not get a game this year because the club is struggling for support.

Youngsters at the Bulldogs camp may not get a guernsey this year because the club is struggling for support.

While the seniors are coming off back-toback premierships, and are in good hands for a title defence, the juniors are on shaky ground.

"This has been coming for a couple of years now, but we've always scraped up enough help to get by," said seniors manager Justin Hoskins.

"Unfortunately, this year, we're in real trouble."

Last year, the junior committee was absorbed into the management of the club to ease the burden on the parents that had been running the colts for years.

"Our president, secretary and bistro manager at the time hadn't had children in the junior grades for several years, and were still doing the bulk of the work virtually alone," Hoskins said.

"We know now, that we are in a position where we have to stand up and say ... without help, this year's junior teams from North may not get on the ground."

The Bulldogs called for nominations of coaches and two coordinator roles toward the end of last year, but no-one applied.

They then re-advertised twice, and filled the Under 11 and Under 15 positions, before calling an emergency meeting at the clubrooms.

"We know this situation isn't isolated to the North Football Club ... all clubs in all codes struggle for volunteers these days," Hoskins said.

"Hopefully, this will be a wakeup call to all parents that we need help.

"The same faces showed up, the reliable six or seven parents who do all the work each season, but that isn't going to be enough this year."

The club's first port of call was to its players; who were briefed at training about the situation, and who have agreed to take part in a player volunteer roster. They will help with training and coaching the Auskick ranks on Tuesday and Friday nights.

"The players were happy to come on board, they realise that they will only be called on three or four times for the year, and that this is a good way of giving back," Hoskins said.

"We have had a good track record of players helping, but an attempt to get everyone on board will be the big improvement."

Having the players on board won't solved the overwhelming crisis that the club faces. The positions of team managers, junior coordinators, timekeepers, guernsey washers, water runners and coaching assistants remain vacant.

"This is where we would plead for the parents to come out and help," Hoskins said.

"It will be a similar situation to the players, with enough help, it may only be your turn once or twice throughout the whole season.

"We understand that advertising for committee positions may scare some willing parents away, with them not being able to commit full time, but this is a situation where we feel many hands will make light work.

"You never know, you may even enjoy it." Former North junior and now Adelaide Crows forward superstar Taylor Walker has commented on the situation at his former club.

"It's always disappointing to hear that any part of your club is struggling," Walker said.

"The North Football Club will always be my home and there are so many ways volunteers can help out, it doesn't have to be coaching.

"The impact that a strong support base has on budding sports people is well known, and if you have any time to give, whatever club or code you are involved with, I would implore you to do it."

Mr Hoskins said it was all about the kids.

"All these kids want to do is play footy; and that is a fantastic thing. We cannot afford to let this situation get any further in the hole," Hoskins said.

"We aren't calling for a committee; the top end will handle itself if we have the manpower to run the games. That is what is important, getting these kids out on the park."

Potential volunteers are encouraged to contact Justin Hoskins on 0448 860 427, Ben Victory on 0429 123 312 or Paul Thomas on 0409 879 258.

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