By Nick Blewett
Greenacres Football Club is this season reaping the rewards of growing its NAB AFL Auskick program.
The club has been working hard to boost its junior numbers and is achieving this thanks to the success of its Auskick program which introduces children aged five to seven years to footy.
With the help of SANFL, after three successive years of delivering the Auskick program at the club, the Dragons now have two teams playing each Sunday in SANFL Juniors for the first time.
It had enough players this season to enter the SANFL under 7s ‘minis’, a modified rules non-tackling competition, as well as an under 8s team in SANFL Juniors.
The last time Greenacres fielded junior teams was 2013 in the North East Metro Junior Football Association, now part of SANFL Juniors.
SANFL’s Game Development Co-ordinator in the North Adelaide zone, Jason Rivett, has worked with the Greenacres over the past few years to get the juniors back to the fore at the northern suburbs club.
“We had many conversations, meetings, and planning sessions. It has taken a very long time,” says Rivett.
“We’re in quite a dense area for football clubs; there’s one a hundred metres down the road, and a handful within one or two kilometres.
“Auskick is the most important program for any club looking to grow numbers – we’ve now spent a couple of years running it and promoting it in the local schools.”
“The challenge is to keep finding new kids five, six and seven years old, introducing them to football with Auskick then giving them an opportunity to go on and play in a fun competition with the club.”
With the help of volunteers, this year the club is running Auskick clinics across three school terms and multiple grounds to help in its recruiting drive for juniors.
The club has also just appointed a new junior co-ordinator to carry on the work of former co-ordinator Haydn Ward – now a SANFL Game Development Coordinator at Central District – who has helped revive its juniors.
To play Auskick at Greenacres Football Club, head to www.play.afl/auskick to register. Term three registrations are still open.
To find out more about playing SANFL Juniors at Greenacres, contact Xen on 0431 120 591.
Pictured above: Former Greenacres FC junior co-ordinator Haydn Ward with some happy ‘Auskickers’.