CHFL: Illabarook desperate to recruit senior players

ILLABAROOK has sent an SOS less than two months out from the 2013 Central Highlands Football League season.

The Bulldogs are desperately hunting senior players to help boost their numbers.

President Nick Gray said the club had about 25 to 30 open-age players, but needed another 10 to 15, including eight of senior-team quality, to be competitive this year.

“It is reasonably serious,” Gray said.

“Our numbers at training haven’t been great. (Coach) Rod Gladman is very concerned as are the committee members.”

Gray said it was just the senior group that was lean for numbers, with junior football and all netball grades well situated ahead of the new season.

“We’ve got too many blokes sitting on the fence trying to make up their mind which way they want to go. We’ve had a few more retirees than what we thought we were going to get because people have got crook knees and crook backs. That’s understandable. It’s part of football and sport,” he said.

“We find ourselves in the situation in that we’ve actually got probably one of the best committees that the club has had for the last 10 years. We’ve taken care of financial problems and got things sorted out there, and now we are faced with this new problem of being short on players.”

Despite the lack of faces, Gray said he was confident the club would field a senior team in 2013.

“The people that we have got that have committed are a mixture of senior and reserves players. The last thing I want to do is break the fellas’ hearts and will and have them being flogged by 30 to 40 goals every week,” he said.

Gray admitted it was hard to attract players to a club that had won just one senior match since joining the league two years ago.

“I think that is pretty much it. You try and put on a brave face, but when you do get belted by as much as you do it has got to take its toll on the players, the coach and everyone who supports the club and make them wonder what they’re doing,” he said.

Illabarook took the drastic measure of suspending player payments last season.

Gray said some players would be paid this year, with incentives to remain.

Anyone interested in joining the Bulldogs can contact Nick Gray on 0409 633 324.

tim.oconnor@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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