Link: Junior Players in Demand

The competing interests of local sports clubs and private schools is a long standing issue.

Private schools have priorities which often affect the availability of players for their local teams.

The recent rise of junior pathways and elite development squads in many sports has added to the confusion.

This Age article examines some of the ins and outs of the issue:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/a-scuffle-erupts-behind-the-play-20100528-wky7.html

The Almanac is interested in your opinions or experiences concerning these matters.

Comments

  1. Phantom says:

    The issue is as complex as it is simple

    I will start by playing devil’s advocate and use the example of Australian Rules Football

    I can understand why sporting clubs have a grievance regarding players who attend private schools being unavailable for Saturday sport, however, I also understand that the schools have an expectation that students who are capable of playing in school teams.

    There is nothing wrong with playing school team sport; in fact it can be a lot of fun and a very good vehicle for bonding for a group of kids forced together for a significant part of their lives.

    Care must be taken that this is not just another way in which the private school system can be bashed. Not all private school students are privileged twerps. Many parents make extraordinary sacrifices to exercise their choice in this great democracy.

    Private schools cater for a considerable and increasing number of our population. What would be the burden on the government system without them. Bring a government down I would expect.

    And why should public school idiosyncrasies be fair game for attack while any criticism of aspects of the state school system is considered politically incorrect or worse.

    And if people have trouble with rules and regulations just slip over the speed limit by a few clicks on the way home tomorrow. It isn’t the public school’s principals association manning the cameras.

    I find some of Professor Toumbourou’s arguments naïve and even a little offensive. The comment that private schools expect their students to play team sport together fosters a segregated society is simply an elitist academic opinion. One only needs to open their eyes to see that our society is already very segregated. And we have laws to ensure that is the case.

    Also to state that Saturday school team sport indicates not having a sense of community engagement or commitment is strange. There is more than just one community. Whether we like it or not they have separate cultures, values and expectations. Open your eyes professor.

    If you don’t believe me rock up to your local bowls club next season with a cream cake for the afternoon tea fellas. It is women’s business and you will soon be told. Butt out.

    Perhaps if people have concerns about undemocratic elitism in sport then they could look at the out of control evolution of the AFL Juggernaut. Is it fair that currently unconceived, let alone born, boys who have the capacity to AFL footy will play with the club that the politibureau rules says they should?

    If there is issue with who tells who when and where they can play sport then maybe the head needs chopping off rather than a finger.

    Now that should get you all going.

    Academic Phantom

  2. Ian Syson says:

    Saturday school sport is the spawn of Satan. We need to exorcise that kind of exercise.

    I could go on all day but the article kind of sums it up for me. It causes major ructions at Brunswick CC, where 3 or 4 of each year’s U14 team can’t play after xmas because of school commitments. And the standard at which the kids are forced to play is often rubbish.

  3. Ian Syson says:

    I didn’t see Phantom’s post before I made mine — but P, I really don’t see how expropriating the private school expropriators would cost the government much at all. Isn’t it the case that most elite private schools get more govt funding than many state schools?

  4. Phantom says:

    That wouldn’t be right Ian, Ruddy is a good old socialist. His kids wouldn’t go to a private school would they?

  5. Andrew Fithall says:

    My recent experience of school sport has demonstrated how such sport can bring greater individual identification with the school, which from my perspective, is a real positive. My son Bill is in year 10 at St Kevin’s having spent his first two years of secondary school at Williamstown HS. He still has good friends from High School and spends more non-sporting weekend time with those friends than with his current school friends. Weekend winter sport is Saturday mornings with school football; Sunday afternoons with local football. At this age he is still capable of playing both games. He has only just given up club basketball, which was played on a Monday evening. Two games of football, three nights of football training, one game of basketball and a basketball training session just got too much. Two weeks ago, on a Saturday afternoon, he and I and his younger brother, also at St Kevin’s, went along to Xavier for the First XVIII annual grudge game. It was an excellent spectacle with several players (eg Wallis and Liberatore) already identified as upper-level draft picks. And the support from both school cohorts, dressed informally in some form of school identifiable gear was a feature of the game – if not always a positive feature.

    Bill would never have participated in such activity at the High School. The prevailing attitude in competitive intra and inter-school sport seemed to be to try and avoid it. That suits many people. Personally, having had my own opportunity to participate in reasonable level school sport which enjoyed the support of the staff and students, I was happy for my two sons to be part of it. Each Saturday Helen and I, with help from other parents, share the responsibilities of ferrying the boys to their respective venues (and also trying to coach our two girls’ basketball team in the local competition). We help out as goal umpires or trainers, just as we do at local football. Incidentally, my girls’ school sport is played after school on weekdays. As a parent I have very little opportunity to watch, or in any way assist with this arrangement.

    Last Sunday Williamstown played Spotswood in Under 16 As in what has become a local grudge match. The game, played in good spirit by both teams was just as important to the participants and parents. Lachlan Hunter, who as a Year 10 player had reportedly been one of St Kevin’s best in their First XVIII game the previous day, was clearly best afield in this game. To see him continue to contribute to his local team in the local competition demonstrated that it is still important to him

    Next year, when the local Under 18s play on a Saturday morning, Bill and Lachlan, and several others will discontinue local football. For Bill that will be it. Too many variables to predict what his football future holds. For Lachlan, there will be Western Jets and State representation on his way to probable higher levels.

    As an aside, in cricket, there are probably many school-age boys playing local senior cricket on Saturday afternoons having completed their school cricket commitments on the Saturday morning.

    So this boring dissertation neither fully supports nor fully contradicts the sentiment expressed in the Age article. I am just happy for them to continue to participate and enjoy the activity.

  6. John Butler says:

    As someone who went to both public and private schools, who worked in a high school for a lengthy period, who coached cricket for a decade at club level where we regularly lost kids to school commitments, and who had a couple of protégées in elite development squads, I find myself astride several fences hoping the razor wire isn’t too sharp.

    Saturday sport is part of the private school package. You can like it or not, but the fact is an increasing number of parents are opting for it. The reasons why this is so are a separate argument.

    This fact is an inconvenience for local clubs, but realistically, not all your kids are available every week anyway, so you always need extras. On the weeks when you have too many, there are ways to manage that.

    If the school sports are well resourced and coached, then the kids improve and local clubs reap some benefit from that. The bigger issue for local clubs is keeping them playing once they hit 17-18 y.o.

    If I was to take major issue with anything, it might be these “elite” development programs, which , at least in cricket, pay little heed to anything but their own requirements. But even here, one of our kids has gone on to be a regular in Premier League, and that wouldn’t have been possible if he only played with our club.

    So I guess I’m agreeing with Phantom, in that it’s both simple and complex. Which still leaves me on those fences.

  7. I was once at a conference at a private school where the Principal stood and lauded his school as being “in Toorak but not of Toorak”. What a heap. Aside from being a catholic school spawned supposedly from a working class ethos of helping get boys educated and in to the middle classes, he was denying that they were in fact taking ownership of their students and excluding them from their own local communities. Why, I asked, can’t they bring their various experiences and qualities from various locales to enrich the school and, conversely, return to their suburbs and (former) peers on weekends. I can’t recall the guffaw but i guess it meant that rowing needed to compete with Scotch. I’m afraid that I just don’t get the “old school” shite.
    Mind you, generational suburban brawls are unsavoury also.
    That’s why these schools have such a chance to foster friendships across divides and a responsibility to return those attitudes to their roots.

  8. Stainless says:

    OK Phantom – you’ve got me going.

    The cold hard fact is that private schools forcefully impose a rule about mandatory participation in school sport, often at the exclusion of all other sports, and that they insist on playing these sports on weekends, outside the normal school hours. Any debate on the pros and cons of this rule must inevitably consider the effects of these schools imposing their will on families and communities.

    Yes, parents willingly send their children to these schools, often at great financial and personal cost, and that they do so fully understanding the obligations with regard to compulsory school sport. However, most parents, particularly those making the big sacrifices, do so out of a desire to give them a good (academic) education. From my own experience, and from the comments of many private school parents, I suggest that compulsory school sport is widely regarded as one of the annoying tradeoffs that, alongside garish blazers and Latin mottos, they have to put up with as part of the private school package. But no-one ever seems to ask – why?

    I daresay some kids benefit from being forced to do sport. But typically, they are either the handful for whom too much sport is barely enough, or those who would not do any exercise at all unless it was mandated. Where parents need to work full time to pay the school fees, the imposition on already limited family time is at best endured through gritted teeth.

    Even the much promoted benefits of playing on the top quality (and hugely expensive) playing fields that many private schools boast are offset by dubious training regimens and indifferent attitudes of teachers who are conscripted into taking sports as part of their “other duties”. I remember hearing Wayne Johnston commenting on radio a couple of years ago when he was coaching one of the TAC Cup teams. Johnston was understandably aggrieved about private schools taking kids out of the TAC Cup team and playing them in school footy. However, his damning criticism was about the effects on the players when they returned, in terms of negligently managed injuries and equally poor skill and tactical training, much of which, he claimed, had to be unlearned.

    If these schools really believe their own mantra that talented students should be encouraged to “achieve excellence”, surely they must acknowledge that they are not always the best institutions to provide those opportunities – especially in sport.

    The most interesting part of the article for me were the comments from Richard Wilson, the President of the Balwyn (Junior and Senior) Footy Club. Wilson is a wealthy man living in the epicentre of Melbourne’s elite private school zone. I’m writing a piece for the Local Footy Alamanc about Balwyn and am intrigued by Wilson’s attitude about local football. He has clearly played a major role in making the Balwyn senior team a powerhouse of the Eastern Football League. I had concluded that nurturing community values isn’t his style. The approach at Balwyn is to buy the best available talent (a tactic that a number of private schools are increasingly resorting to, by the way). With this pedigree, I wouldn’t have expected him to be a strong advocate for community clubs over private schools.

    Yet here he was, as spokesman for the Balwyn JFC, making an impassioned and seemingly genuine defence of the important role that junior sporting clubs play in community development and what a shame it is that so many local kids are denied the opportunity to play alongside peers from diverse backgrounds.

    By making such demanding rules on the activities that their students must undertake, private schools inevitably cloister them in a limited stratum of society, with commensurately less opportunities to participate in broader community life than their public school peers. In this regard, I believe they are encouraging the very segregation in society that as enlightened educational institutions, they should be seeking to break down.

    And yes, if you hadn’t already guessed, I went to a private school. And no, I didn’t enjoy compulsory sport. And no, I didn’t send my boys to private school. And yes, they played junior footy with local clubs. And yes, that was an imposition for us as a family. But the difference was that it was something they chose to do.

  9. johnharms says:

    Everyone gets pissed and falls over at schoolies week.

  10. Phantom says:

    Cheers John, a good short circuit breaker.

    But I can see which side of the fence you are on. Schoolies week, not schoolies Saturday.

  11. Phantom says:

    I am fully aware of the control measures imposed on students at private schools but this debate seems to be based on what happens at the crème de crème end of that sector of the education industry and only in and around Melbourne. The umbrella appears to be covering all. I think there are differences. There are different cultures within the private school system(s) throughout Australia.

    I find that I am restricted in what I can say due to the expectation of political correctness. It is sometimes very hard being a committed ‘snag’ with a fair smattering of latent ‘good old boy’ as well.

    I ask this question. Would we be crossing the line if we were having a similar debate over the cultural quaintness of fundamental religious educational institution? Yes. But because of what they are and who can afford to attend private schools are always fair game. We can say or think what we want because they deserve it because they have money.

    There’s the stake in the ground.

    It was my understanding that sport always used to be played on Saturdays. But that was when it was sport. It is now business. So it is 24 / 7. (Did I use that saying / I hate it).

    Sport was played on Saturdays because during the week all the daddies were at work, the mummies were tending to domestic duties (except those whose children were at private schools: they were at charity morning teas and luncheons) and all the kiddies were at school. (Except the recalcitrants who wagged and grew up to become Almanackers)

    Sport on Saturdays gave every one the chance to go along and either watch or participate. Working mummies and daddies find it hard to get off work to watch or officiate in week day sport. I know. I coached a school soccer team (at an independent school) that played on Wednesday afternoons). Every second week we had to travel 160km to the venue and then return. Fortunately I worked for myself and was able to cope, just.

    Sunday was the day of rest. It seemed to work. But sport is no longer sport.

    Some of those elitists educated in private schools may have been catalysts in the economics of sport evolution but there would be a large percentage of enterprising go getters from the wrong side of the tracks in the mix as well. The majority, me thinks.

    Not all people who went to independent schools are ‘old school’. There’s that umbrella again. I wouldn’t mind betting there was a bit of elitism amongst the ‘old boys’ of Jika Jika. Possibly more af a threat to the greater community as well.

    The issue of closed community elitism being fostered only in private schools is interesting. My children, although not christened into any church, went through a Catholic secondary school on the north west coast of Tasmania. I believe they got a balanced education. I am quite pedantic in that area. They were not forced to play sport, (translation is that sport was not compulsory, just encouraged) but could if they wished.

    They were continually involved in community engagement activities throughout their entire curriculum. These community engagement activities were compulsory. They enjoyed them and are better people for it.

    Finally, for now, can anyone give me an example of a year twelve ‘couch potato’ or ‘computer nerd’ that will be forced to run round in ‘the ones’ in the leafy suburbs this Saturday? But they would surely be scorned upon by the elitists in the sporting development industry.

    (Gloves Off) Phantom

  12. Me thinks chips on shoulders are abundant in this debate. I’ve never seen the word “elitist” thrown around with such gay abandon.

  13. Phantom says:

    You aren’t alowed to use ‘gay’ these days either. It’s too elitist.

  14. Darren Smith says:

    Call me crazy but why don’t we just ask the kid where they want to play? Even if he / she chooses to participate in both local and school comps, so what !? Isn’t sport meant to be fun ?

  15. Ian Syson says:

    Darren. You’re crazy. But it might just work!

  16. Andrew Fithall says:

    Returning to the original premise (or one of) of the article, the concern was regarding players departing their local competition because of their obligations to compulsory school sport. To quote from the article:

    “At the junior level we have volunteer parents and coaches investing so much time and money in the community club,” says club president Richard Wilson. “Then our kids get handed over to private school sport. They’ve been coached, trained and developed by us, and we get nothing in return.”

    I wasn’t aware this was an investment, and the local clubs and associations were looking for a return. And if they are, wasn’t the participation of the player on a weekly basis while they trained with and were coached by the club the immediate return on that “investment”. I assume Mr Wilson doesn’t allow clearances either between teams in the competition or into or out of the Association, because the originating club would be losing the return on their investment. Maybe they have introduced a transfer fee regimen.

    And to conclude with a final cynical remark, when messers Wallis and Liberatore and Hunter (comment #5) all play their respective first game for the Bulldogs, the actual financial return that is part of the AFL internal payment structure to originating junior clubs, won’t be going to St Kevin’s, it will be going to St Bernard’s (the football club – not the school) or to Williamstown Juniors.

    Oops – that was going to be my final remark, but it just occurred to me that the parents of the three players named have previously been or currently are coaches with their local junior club. I saw Tony Liberatore on Sunday coaching a St Bernard’s Under 10 (I think) team. The benefit to the clubs of having those players and their parents involved for the time that they were, will continue long after the players depart.

  17. Phantom says:

    Well rounded off Andrew.

    No one owns sport even if some wish to. Only a very small percentage get to the top. The rest just do it for fun.

    Except if you are the taxi and the cleaner upperer after the event(s.

    It is as complex as it is simple.

    Phantom.

    PS. Some great recent late Saturday morning / early afternoon phone calls I have had from my son who is 24 and plays footy at a senior level.

    Always start with:

    ‘Dad – it’s George – I’m at the ground at the team meeting and have left my’ (Insert as required) guernsey, boots, socks, away shorts, home shorts, mouth guard other at home. Have you left yet’?

    If it’s a home game I am on the gate from 11.00 am till 1.00 pm or if it’s an away one I am on the way and a long way from home.

    At least if he was playing a compulsory game at school they would give him a detention, and me a break.

  18. Stainless says:

    “No one owns sport even if some wish to. Only a very small percentage get to the top. The rest just do it for fun.”

    My point exactly.

    So why do private schools make participation compulsory for all, whether they like sport or not? There still seems to be no satisfactory answer beyond it being their right to do so.

  19. Stainless – the answer is quite simple. It is regarded as part of every kid’s education just likes maths (compulsory), English (compulsory) and so on. Kids can’t just pull out because they don’t want to. They’re part of the school community so they have to contribute to the school community. If they don’t like it, bad luck.

  20. Ian Syson says:

    Dips, you don’t really answer Stainless’s question. Maths and English are important for all sorts of intellectual and developmental reasons. The reasons for compulsory sport are entirely different. What are they? At the moment you seem to be suggesting that sport is compulsory because it’s compulsory.

  21. Chalkdog says:

    Andrew
    Re #5. Is young Hunter the best prospect via Willy Juniors/SKevs since Gia? Is he any chance Father son via Mark?
    Have kids at private school that doesnt run sport on Saturdays. Its done after school right thru the week. It does seem to exclude parental involvement.

  22. Andrew Fithall says:

    Chalkdog,

    Lachlan has been the best player in his various teams since Under 9s. It is good to see him playing for his school (and this point is not made as an argument for compulsory school sport) because the nature of his role, as a smaller and younger player is different from what is required of him at his junior footy. Mark played 130 games. Lach is already participating in some Bulldogs development programs. He is left-foot dominant with some of his football style similar to his cousin (on his mother’s side) Mark McVeigh. My younger son has received a few pairs of hand-me-down boots over the years and the right foot is always in better knick than the left! Mrs Hunter (Colleen) played lacrosse for Australia and Lachlan’s sister is in the Australian U/19 lacrosse squad as a 16-year-old.

  23. Ian – I reckon I answewred the question quite clearly. But if you want more here are a few more reasons:

    1 – it encourages activity (and don’t the fat little kids today need that)
    2 – it encourages a team spirit
    3 – it develops physical skills
    4 – it encourages discipline
    5 – it involves kids in the community – whether that be the school or local community
    6 – it gives kids a sense of pride in their performance
    7 – its a great distraction from study when the kids get into higher grades
    8 – its a critical part of a well rounded education
    9 – it give the less academic a chance to shine (so the less sporty should be made to contribute)
    10 – it teaches kids that everything is not all about them.

    All the lovely free spirited, do-what-you-like schools that popped up in the 60s and 70s have failed. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

  24. Ian Syson says:

    Dips, this is not an argument about the value of junior sport; the question is about school sport over club sport. Let’s imagine the child in question goes to a school that allows them to play club sport if they choose. Which of answers 1-10 are not available from club sport, except from no. 8, perhaps?

    And answer 9!! Since when, in Australian culture, has academic achievement been valued over sporting achievement? You appear to be advocating the humiliation of fat, intelligent computer nerds in order to make the poor downtrodden school centre-half forward feel a little better about himself.

  25. Ian – see my answer in 19. Its all about creating the school culture and school community feeling. If you go to the school you should be made to be part of the school community. Its like any club, if you’re a member, the club wants your involvement. There is no great mystery here. Just because public schools don’t make it compulsory doesn’t automatically mean the private schools are wrong.

    A lot of kids in my days at school played both for the school and the local team (me included). And I’m sure they do today.

    In my view the schools are right, and I know that will result in me labeled “elitist” and (God forbid) a right wing conservative, but that’s my view.

    And I stand by reason 9 above.

  26. Ian Syson says:

    Dips — The point is that in Cricket the school comps coincide with the club comps (in the association I’m involved in). So kids who have come through a junior club having learned such values as team loyalty, commitment and a number of the kinds of values you listed are told to ditch them to play in a school comp that is (in all but the elite levels and in my admittedly limited experience) badly coached, badly run and seen as a kind of going-through-the-motions. Because some school cricket runs through to 1.30pm or is even played on Saturday afternoons it can preclude the better kids playing senior cricket as well.

    I really thought we had done away with all that muscular christianity nonsense and our society had learned to trust the secular and the local. Ordinary community organisations are able to hold and transmit values the equal of, or perhaps even superior to, the Xaviers, Scotches and Geelongs of this world.

    My comments apply solely to cricket btw as I have little experience in the administration of other sports.

  27. Andrew Fithall says:

    The school sport versus community sport thing is not a new phenomena. At my school – St Pat’s Ballarat – I played basketball for the school in teams which competed in the local competition. I can’t recall any schoolmates playing for a non-school club although many would have been registered, as I was, with a local club prior to starting secondary school. I seem to recall a fair amount of pressure to transfer but cannot remember whether or not it was compulsory.

    With football you could play for the school as well as for the local club because they were in separate competitions. There was a lot of community angst when St Pat’s proposed to enter school teams in the local club competition.

    By the time I got to HSC (not VCE and not Matric!), I was ineligible to play school basketball because of age. Having given away football some years earlier because of a bad case of ineptitude, I took it up again in order to at least represent the school in a sport. Strangely, my lack of participation had increased my skills markedly and I did alright.

    At the same school, but a few years younger than me was Danny Frawley. I don’t know Danny but I don’t think he would have played for a school team at all. As a bus boy (lowest on the sociological scale behind boarders (1) and day rats (2)), probably not a lot of attention would have been paid to Danny except that he could play football. Danny obviously thought it was alright to accept some of the benefits of the school – he found a bride from the ranks of the Mary’s Mount girls – without giving back by playing school football. I am sure a fair bit of pressure would have been applied, but it wasn’t compulsory. Danny stayed with his local club.

  28. Ian – you’re putting words in my mouth. I made no mention of muscular christianity. I made no mention of Xavier, Scotch and Geelong. I think you have had a bad experience but my experience of school sport has been miles away from “badly coached, badly run, going through the motions”. Quite the contrary actually. Kids can still experience loyalty and mateship at a school.

    I’m all for local clubs (I played for one), but the school does the educating therefore it takes precedence. If this is objectionable then the kids shouldn’t be sent there. That’s about as succinct as I can get.

  29. Ian Syson says:

    Dips — Sorry about that. I was generalising and not meaning to attribute particular sentiments to you.

    Though I don’t think I have anywhere said kids can’t experience loyalty and mateship at school. I just quibble about why the promotion of this has to take precedence over another and prior set of lived sporting values.

    Your final point is one that clarifies the argument though. If parents are happy for the school’s values to override others then fair enough I guess.

  30. Richard Jones says:

    THIS is nothing to do with the topic but it’s all oh-so serious a little light relief is needed.

    When we played footy at Xavier (this was long before the Division 2 outfits such as St Kevins, Carey, Brighton, Haileybury et al were admitted into the APS) we had a bloke with a modicum of knowledge about chemistry.

    So into the chapel’s holy water, or whatever it’s called, went a full vial of a specially prepared liquid. Looked just like water, I recall.

    Then when the good lads and other mature age disciples of the Vicar of Rome rocked up the next day — Sunday — they would do the normal spectacles/testicles/vallet and vatch routine as they made the sign of the Cross about their persons.

    Only problem was that having dipped their forefinger in the treated wated, when the said forefinger was applied to the forehead in the “spectacles” part of the ritual a small dark mark was left planted on the skin.
    Reasonably indelible it was, too, and apparently remained for a good 24 hours before it could be eliminated.

    Needless to say we were called up by our HM late on the following Monday afternoon to explain just how this could have happened. A fair amount of corporal punishment was doled out by the apoplectic boss!

  31. Ian Syson says:

    Sounds like silver nitrate.

  32. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Jeepers! This all makes sport sound way too complicated. I’m glad I grew up in country Victoria where school sport was played at school and community sport was played at weekends.

  33. Tony Robb says:

    Great discussion. But I noice that the majority of the posts occured during office hours. While I was out toiling on the golf course for a pultry 27 points, you lot are sitting around cutting the fat about school sport. Good for some lol

    More seriously, I was someone who had the choice of going to Xavier, with Nth Melbourne paying the bill, or going to St Joeys in Sydney with dad paying a bigger bill. I chose the latter as Ron Barassi scared me. The thing that was apparent at Joeys was the pull factor of being a top notch sporting school. The GPS were feeder schools for Sydney 1st grade and in turn the Wallabies and it made big financial sense to ensure that the school atracted good players anf retained them. If a kid was selected in the Australain schoolboys they were commonly asked to repeat so the the school kept its profile as a leading Rugby school. Surely they same applies to private schools in Melbourne or Victoria. Assumption College was THE leading feeder school to the VFL and some parents sent their kids their for that reason. Scouts went to school so your kid had a chance of being picked up more so than the kids at Wangarata High. The same logic applies today. A private school keeps their best kids playing for the school so they are seen as strong footie school and that attract enrolment as well as allowing higher fees to be charged. Forget the crap about balance and all rounded pupila. Private schools are about money

    cheers

  34. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Talented country kids haven’t necessarily missed being noticed because they attended local bush schools. They had their opportunity through the local region football system -through the old zones -and previous to that league scouts attended inter-league matches. Any one with talent was asked to try out. For example- Cohuna High school had the Farrant boys (Cohuna to North) Max Robertson (Union to South Melbourne)-, Neville Bruns (Leitchville to Geelong ) There were others who went to try out at as well.
    I have my father’s letter of invitation to train at Essendon in 1950. The generation previous to that also managed to try out with league clubs .Schools not in the picture in those days.

  35. Tony Robb says:

    Pamela.
    The letter of invite would have been great to have been fulfilled as the Dons won the GF against North that year. My dad played for North in that game. The Dons had Coleman Reynolds etc and were a very strong team.
    cheers
    Tony

Leave a Comment

*