Sharks boss speaks of future fears

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Email Cameron Newbold

Albany Football Club president Geoff Oldfield has spoken out about his concern for the future of the Great Southern Football League, with the Sharks winning one of the 78 games so far in their six years in the competition.

Oldfield has put the sustainability of a six-team competition on the agenda in a candid interview with the Albany Advertiser raising concerns about his own club and also the future of rivals Mt Barker and Denmark-Walpole.

Since their inception as a league side in the GSFL, the Sharks have only tasted success once in a landmark performance against the Bulls in 2015 and have an average losing margin of 134 points.

The Bulls struggled for a number of seasons until the introduction of several travelling players in 2016 helped push them to a grand final while the Magpies have also resorted to a travelling contingent to help strengthen the league side.

Oldfield said the loss of Borden from the Ongerup Football Association heightened his fears that a club could be lost from the GSFL in the near future.

“I’m really worried about it,” Oldfield said. “I’m worried I feel other people aren’t worried about it. Mt Barker, Sharks and Denmark-Walpole are the more fragile set-up clubs and I do have grave concerns for them.

“I can see if something is not done we are going to lose a team and that might not be the Sharks.

“It’s not only on-field but the off-field as well, committees and volunteers. I’m generally worried for the future of the GSFL, we need to have a plan in place to make sure (losing a club) does not happen.”

Oldfield said he had received support from GSFL president Joe Burton around these issues but believed action must be taken to avoid going back to a five-team competition.

“The GSFL can only do so much and the support is there from Joe (Burton) and I think he’s concerned as well.

“Success breeds success and I don’t blame other clubs for wanting to win premierships but it won’t mean much against four teams.

“Paying players is not the answer and it’s not sustainable. We’ve won one game in all those years and some guys have been there from the start; how are those players feeling when you know every week you are going to lose.

“We’ve got to start by us winning some games of footy because if we do lose a side it will be a long time before they are replaced.

“I say the answer is a draft of new players that come to town, with an order like the AFL.”

Burton was contacted for comment on the matter.

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