President raises concerns with colts division, hails senior campaign a success

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Great Southern Storm's Zainel Bin Busu.
Camera IconGreat Southern Storm's Zainel Bin Busu. Credit: Cameron Newbold

Great Southern Football League president Joe Burton says he was impressed by the league’s performances at the Landmark Country Football Championships, both at colts and senior level following the annual carnival in Perth this month.

The Great Southern Storm, representing the GSFL at colts level, went winless at the championships for the second time in five years and finished last of the five teams for the sixth time since 2011.

The GSFL senior team competed in division 3 of the carnival and won their way through to the grand final but their hope of earning promotion to division 2 was ended with a loss to Eastern Districts Football League in the decider.

Burton, also an executive member of the WA Country Football League, however, has raised some concerns surrounding the age of eligible players competing and the time slot of the colts division.

The colts division is played on the back of School Country Week and ends a busy month of football for the region’s most talented young players, who also take part in the annual Great Southern Colts Carnival.

Burton believes players not just in the Storm outfit are burnt out when they head to the Landmark championships.

“I have suggested that we look at the date of the colts,” Burton said.

“Perhaps we should shift the colts division because these kids compete in three carnivals in three weeks essentially.

“Some of them play up to 14 games, the Great Southern carnival then School Country Week and then Landmark, it’s just too much I feel.”

GSFL president Joe Burton.
Camera IconGSFL president Joe Burton. Credit: Malcolm Heberle

Burton confirmed the issue would be raised at their next WACFL meeting for discussion.

He is also keen to discuss the competing age rules at the championships, with currently 19-year-olds able to play.

Burton believes bringing the age division back to 18-year-olds to align better with WA Football Commission pathways like WAFL colts and State 18s is an option.

“These are all things we can talk about and look at,” he said.

“Obviously what works in Albany doesn’t necessarily work in other regional areas.”

Burton hailed the championships a success despite the senior team not taking out the division 3 title. “I was absolutely delighted (with the seniors),” he said.

“Having all the coaches participating in that weekend worked, there was a great feeling around the group and we’ve got to keep building on the whole thing.”

He also believed despite not winning a game the championships was again great exposure for the Storm.

“Its about that high-level exposure and being put under pressure,” he said.

“Its important they gain that experience, win or lose.

“The Storm played some good footy at stages against all the teams but didn’t have the strength to stay with them.”

The Storm took only five top age players with Jaike Dale, Kohen Lemin Jayden Scott, Marcus Mellon and Kimberley addition Keifan Rogers all born in 1999.

The other four teams in the colts took a significant amount of top age players.

After a post championship general bye, normal GSFL action returns this weekend.

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