Numbers rise in FSC Football Draw for 2021

The open-age women's football draw will be just one team shy of previous years with Bega combining with Tathra.
The open-age women's football draw will be just one team shy of previous years with Bega combining with Tathra.

Football made a welcome return to the pitch over the weekend, but it hasn't been without challenges says association president Kerri Warren.

After a suspension of both the junior and senior draws in 2020 due to Covid-19, numbers have bounced back surprisingly well for the 2021 season, but Ms Warren said a shuffling of the junior age groups had forced changes to the draw.

"We're up to about the eighth version of the draw at the moment, it has definitely been a work in progress," Ms Warren said.

"The numbers are looking good, but it is tough fielding particular age groups."

Ms Warren said the all-age women's competition would be just one team shy of previous seasons as the Bega Devils have joined forces with Tathra this year to field a combined team.

Meanwhile, the senior men's comp has grown despite losing one of the prolific names from the reserve grade draw.

"Wolumla are one of the largest clubs and they've had to withdraw from reserves due to lack of numbers, but Mallacoota will field their first men's team in six years with a return to reserve grade," she said.

"And Eden and Bemboka are both fielding reserves and all-age men's teams and by all accounts they will be quite strong teams, too."

Ms Warren said she was quite pleased with the numbers ahead of round one, saying registrations were "much stronger than I had anticipated" and added she couldn't wait for the season launch.

"I think the main thing is we're back on the pitch, it's been a long time coming."

While the senior comp will closely resemble past draws, the association made the move to shuffle the junior age groups in the hopes of retaining past players.

Clubs agreed to shift from an under 12s and under 14s to an under 13s and 15s format.

"That 15s age group has been the hardest to fill," Ms Warren said.

"Now we've had to adapt the game in the under 15s to ensure it's even because everyone is struggling for numbers a bit."

To keep critical balance in the 15s the association has made for a variable roster down to a minimum of nine players for teams who might come up short any particular weekend.

"If you can field a full team you will, otherwise you will field the number of players - no less than nine - that the other team turns up with," Ms Warren said.

"At least we'll be able to have them playing rather than being forced to withdraw the competition if no one can field a full 11 each Sunday."