There are fears one of Tasmania’s former football powerhouses is in danger of failing to field a team, with sports bigwigs describing the situation as a canary in the coal mine for other clubs.
- Glenorchy, a team that once sat atop the state’s football pyramid, is struggling to field a team.
- There are changing demographics and trends facing the team, with many potential players looking for lower-level, more social games
- Former seniors at the team say Glenorchy’s fate should send a warning to other clubs
Famous for being the former home of all-time Australian rules greats Peter Hudson and Roy Cazaly, the Glenorchy Magpies have struggled to attract players to the club for more than 12 months, but that has changed ahead of this year’s Tasmanian State League season. got worse.
At least one training session saw only 12 committed players on the road, prompting fears for the future of the club, which has won 17 premierships and is a traditional powerhouse of Tasmanian football.
However, Tim Woodham, who will claim the presidency of the club at the upcoming annual general meeting, believes that the tide will turn in the coming weeks.
“I don’t want to go into a slump because I believe you’re not going to come back, but we need to find some players quickly,” he said.
“We don’t have any quick fixes at the moment and it may take a while to bounce back, but one day Glenorchy will be back as a strong club again.”
Interim President Scott Donaghy informed about this ABC Radio Hobart Although the numbers were few on Tuesday, the Magpies’ situation was overwhelming and he said he expected a steady return of players to the club in the coming weeks.
“We’ve told AFL Tas we’re going to put one team in the park. As far as we’re concerned, we’re going to put one team in the park and hopefully a second team,” he said.
Things are already starting to change with around 30 players taking part in a pre-season running session at Risdon Brook Dam this morning.
The club has also signed sprint star Jack Haley as a high performance coach.
But answers are being sought about the decline of the famous club so quickly.
Glenorchy ‘warning sign’ for other clubs
Glenorchy, winless in the top flight last year and forced to sit out two second-tier development league games, are a canary in the coal mine according to the former senior.
“There are some warning signs for me. If it’s happening at Glenorchy, it’s going to happen to someone else,” said Hawthorn premiership player Rodney Eade, who was recruited from Glenorchy in 1975.
“If a club like that went on strike, it would send a warning to the rest of the clubs as to where they were and what might happen.”
Eade believes that a number of factors, both internal and external, contributed to Glenorchy’s predicament.
“Obviously Glenorchy have to take some of the blame, I’m told there’s a bit of debt there so obviously they’ve got some things wrong,” he said.
“It probably shows where they’ve gone wrong in terms of development and why players don’t want to play there, but also the poor state of footy in Tasmania.”
“Did they go to schools? Did they promote? Did they make it a place for players who wanted to participate?”
Players who prefer lower level, more social clubs
News of the Magpies’ uncertain position is particularly worrying for rusty Tasmanian football followers who have known Glenorchy to sit atop the state’s football pyramid for decades.
There were warning signs last year, 2019 and 2020 after big players left the club en masse and failed to replace them.
Off-field turmoil has exacerbated the situation, but those at the club say there are wider reasons for the Magpies’ struggles, namely a hatred of State League football among young men in the area, who prefer to play the game mostly together. lower, more social level.
“Societies change and young people’s views change and they can’t get a game or they’re on the sidelines, playing elsewhere for more money at a lower level. And it’s not just at Glenorchy, it’s happening at other clubs as well,” Eade said.
While neighboring clubs such as St Virgils and Dominic Old Scholars, who play in the Old Scholars Football Association, report healthy numbers, Glenorchy’s small club is feeling the effects of the changing demographics of the northern suburbs.
In the last five years, there has been a 6 percent increase in the number of foreign births in this region.
“We have a lot of Africans and immigrants in our community. We need to get them interested in the football club. Not only to play, but to welcome their families and invite them to the football club. It’s a changing world,” Woodham said.
AFL Tasmania boss Damian Gill said the governing body “continues to support” Glenorchy and hopes the club can field at least one team in the senior or development league this year.
“We’ve got to keep trying. We’ve got to keep trying to find players to play at Glenorchy in 2023. There’s a lot to like about Glenorchy,” he said.
“My message remains the same as last year. If you’re from Glenorchy or have any attachment to the club, now is the time to get involved.”
Rodney Eade doesn’t believe an AFL team in Tasmania will be a silver bullet, but he believes establishing a club will provide an opportunity to rebuild the local football landscape.
“I think we need to follow the Western and South Australian model and have our own Tassie footy commission. We need to do what’s best for the Tasmanian footballer, not just the AFL team,” he said.
“I feel there hasn’t been enough funding coming into Tasmanian football from the AFL like in New South Wales and Queensland over the last 15 or 20 years and the chickens have come home to roost.”