Hampden league clubs pen letter over junior football capping frustrations

THE Hampden league’s 11 clubs are uniting to oppose new junior rules, including capping player numbers at 26.

A letter from all club presidents was submitted to AFL Western District on Wednesday highlighting angst at changes to under 12, under 14 and under 16 structures.

Clubs would be forced to cap their junior lists following an AFL Western District junior football review in November. Teams would field 16 players and would be limited to five on the bench. 

Clubs believe the changes will force players out of the sport. 

AFL Western District review committee chair Matt Irving said clubs completed surveys and had a chance to sit down face-to-face as part of the review.

“Being involved at club land (at Terang Mortlake) and now at the other end of it, clubs have got to understand that their first priority is to look after number one, which I totally understand, but our priority out of all this is to look out for the region,” he said. 

“With that will come some queries...and it will become more controversial I suppose because change is always hard for people. 

“It is always hard to implement change, that’s why we’ve tried to slowly implement these things. 

“There’s a lot of things we could have looked at a lot more critically.”

The under 18.5 competition will remain in tact for the 2018 season despite a recommendation it be changed to an under 18 age group. 

AFL Western District region general manager Kate Williamson was yet to receive the letter when contacted.