Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Local Clubs Must; Women's Sport Underpins Growth

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Local Clubs Must; Women's Sport Underpins Growth

Article excerpt

TIM

JARRETT

tim.jarrett@dailyexaminer.com.au

SPORTING clubs have been evolving and the growth in women's sport is driving change.

Demographer Bernard Salt was quick to point out the effect an older demographic could have on the viability of sporting clubs and said he thought there could be tough times ahead.

"I would imagine the area could be struggling with football teams. I have seen that in western Victoria where there is an outflow of youth and all of a sudden two football teams have to merge...to remain viable," he said.

However, there are positive signs for many clubs and broadening the involvement of everyone from kids to their parents and the wider community was something Yamba Breakers football club have been striving to achieve.

Club president Dan Griffin said sometimes an attitude developed within clubs that fostered a reluctance to invest in youth as they "would just leave at 17".

"Let's acknowledge they are going to go away and get some life experience and let's celebrate that," he said.

"But let's give them the best possible opportunity while they are here so that when they come back the first thing they want to do is join up again."

Mr Griffin credited the growth in his club to the increase in participation levels among women, something which he said was happening not just across the Clarence but the country.

"You see it in league and also you see it in union. It is just amazing that that door is opening and I think that changes everything," he said.

"It changes the culture in the club, it changes the pathways for the younger players and it will only grow sport."

In the Clarence Valley women's sporting sides were increasing in rugby union, league tag and AFL.

It meant the Grafton Tigers were able to field a women's side for the first time in conjunction with Northern Beaches. The growth at a club level coincided with greater exposure of women's sport on TV and professional leagues in the major football codes. …

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