The Ararat Eagles Football Netball Club held a crisis meeting last night after fears the club may fold.
Three-time league Best and Fairest Mick Jennings is going to step into the senior coaching role until the club appoints a replacement coach, hopefully within the next three to four weeks.
Eagles’ committee members, past and present players, and Mininera District Football League President John Box attended the hour-long meeting.
“The best support will be provided from the board to keep clubs going… recession would be a last resort. All options should be exhausted first,” President Box said during the meeting.
The club is putting the call out to the Ararat community, asking them to get behind the club and help grow their players, volunteers and supporters.
“The club’s down to 14 registered players that are committed to stay and they’re basically looking at going into recession for the 12 months,” said interim coach Mick Jennings.
Jennings has been in the Ararat area all his life, coaching around 12 years of senior football during that time.
“I think I’ve got something to offer, to help the club maybe move forward. But let’s make it clear. It’s up to the Eagles, and the people in this town to support this club,” Jennings explained.
“I’m no Hail Mary. I’m just here to help and everyone else has got to put their hand up as well.”
Jennings hopes that someone will put their hand up to coach the club, who he is happy to mentor and support during the year.
He also touched on why country clubs are becoming harder to maintain, saying that a lot of youth leave Ararat and head to Melbourne for further education.
“Twenty years ago we had seven sides in Ararat. Now we’re looking down the barrel at maybe just one. So, we need to get our young guys, our young girls back playing netball, back playing football… and cricket for that matter.”
Anyone interested in playing or volunteering to keep the Eagles alive is encouraged to attend football training on Monday & Wednesday nights, 6pm. Netball training is Wednesdays nights, juniors from 4.30pm and seniors at 6pm.
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-Founder of AC News in 2017