Williamstown football clubs say they will have to start turning away players because they don’t have the facilities to cope with growing numbers, including females entering the sport.
Williamstown Juniors Football Club, which uses Bayside College’s grounds, has grown from about 350 to 420 children in the past year.
President Michael Furlong said by next year the club would have about 475 children playing in 21 teams, including two girls’ teams.
“That’s larger than St Mary’s Primary School,” he said.
“With potentially 475 players next year, we’re talking to the WRFL about potentially asking for a Friday night program because the grounds just can’t cope with it. We’re now at a stage where possibly next year we’re going to have to say no to kids – and that’s not part of council’s strategy, to say no to kids in sport.
“We have had over 33 per cent growth in playing numbers across two seasons, [using]facilities that were built back in the ’70s for five or six teams.”
When the juniors transition to seniors, they often go to Williamstown CYMS Amateur Football Club, which uses Fearon Reserve.
President Bill Deller said his club had grown from two teams to five over the past five-or-so years.
“Next year, with an expected influx of further players, we could possibly be looking at six men’s teams and a women’s team,” he said.
“We just want to be able to provide the opportunity for Williamstown kids when they grow up, to play open-age football; also to get a women’s team up.”
Mayor Sandra Wilson said the council was assessing current and future participation in sport to guide planning and investment.
“We have increased access for football at Langshaws Reserve, completed an oval redevelopment at Fearon Reserve to increase its future carrying capacity and are also completing some planning work at Bayside College for future facility upgrades,” she said.
View the council’s full response on its website.