HAWKS Junior Football Netball Club president Wayne Promnitz believes an AFL Western District decision to review its viability is its “death knell”.
The Hampden league club will enter the 2018 season under a cloud following the release of a report into the state of junior football in the south-west.
Promnitz said the impending review, scheduled before next season’s junior finals series, “put enormous pressure on the club”.
Hawks, which developed AFL champions Jonathan Brown and Jordan Lewis, is the Hampden league’s sole juniors-only club.
The Davidson Oval-based club fields under 12, 14 and 16 football and netball sides.
“We’re only filling Portland’s hole – if Portland want to join the league, then I gather there wouldn’t be a spot for us. But Portland have their own junior competition and they’re quite content with that,” Promnitz said.
“Families would be thinking about ‘where is my boy going to playing next year? This team might not be here’.
“It’s in black and white now and they would be able to say ‘we’ll go somewhere now’.”
Promnitz said said participation and inclusion was paramount at junior level and Hawks provided a “different dynamic” to senior clubs.
“They don’t have to choose a sport but they will by the time they’re 16 to 18,” he said.
“They’ll start saying ‘I’m not going to play basketball and footy, I can’t do both, it takes a bit more commitment now, it’s more serious’.
“So for every one senior player, you need two junior players because one of them might not go all the way through.
“By cutting a team, you’re not really getting that, are you? So by narrowing the numbers at junior level, you’ll lose kids to the sport now.”