THE reliance of Reserve grade football is at its most important stages, as we see a decline in most country footballing leagues struggling for numbers. The amount of work clubs go to each and every year to field the required netball and football grades, is more than we can imagine.
If we look over the premiers from the last four years in the Reserves competition in the Goulburn Valley Football League (GVFL), none have finished outside the top four. Winners have been since 2011, Tatura (1st), Mooroopna (2nd), Shepparton United (3rd), and last year’s premier, Euroa (2nd). Each of the four clubs since that period have had, for quite some time, really strong and well worked Reserves sides.
How important is a well drilled and competitive Reserves side? They are possibly one of the most important cogs in a football club’s existence. A strong and competitive side that is bursting at the seams with available players shows the football public that the club is running well, and has a format of calling on players up into the senior side that are capable of replicating the game plan.
Over the last few weeks with practice games leading into the season we’ve seen clubs playing both the Reserves and Senior grades with numbers being equal, but there is still an uncertainty of whether or not the bottom sides will ever be able to get a piece of premiership glory in the coming seasons? One GVFL club which has had such a strong hold on Under 18 football for many years, has a system that sees players who are unable to make the starting 21, used as top ups in the Reserves.
Aspiring young players who want to push themselves for a senior ‘footy’ berth have to ply their trade in the Reserves and gradually build their way up, and we have seen that it can produce fine players for the betterment of the game, I hope country football sides continue to field Reserves and the days of forfeiting are long gone.