Smythesdale calls crisis meeting as 2017 season draws near

Smythesdale has called a crisis meeting of members as it battles to survive in the Central Highlands Football League.

Following the planned February 27 club talks, the Bulldogs are then set to provide clarity on their situation to the league’s board.

In the open-age football ranks, a player shortage is a concern, while the lack of volunteers at the club is also behind its issues.

Smythesdale president Dave Tuohy said he expects the club to be able to field a senior football team in season 2017, but felt it is a “50-50” proposition on whether or not it will manage a reserves side.

In a positive, the Bulldogs plan on having under-18s, under-15s and under-12s, as well as all grades of netball.

The number of volunteers at Smythesdale is a worry, according to Tuohy.

“We are really struggling. There’s not a lot of people around the club in a volunteering role,” Tuohy said.

“The idea of the crisis meeting is just to let people know that you’ve got to get on board and start helping around the club because the same people can’t keep doing it year after year. It’s burning them out.

“Obviously nothing runs without volunteers. Many hands make light work and if we don’t have a lot of people helping out around the club, it just falls to the same people.”

Dave Tuohy

Dave Tuohy

Tuohy also said there has been talk of the club going into a period of recess.

“In an ideal world you don’t want to. I don’t think there’d be too many clubs that have come back successfully from a recess,” he said.

“We are going to avoid that at all costs. We definitely don’t want to go into recess.”

Tuohy said the phrase “crisis” was perhaps a little strong, but had been used in the club’s Facebook post to show members that the situation is serious.

Tuohy hopes a drawcard for players will be the club’s new ground, which is currently under construction.

The latest concerns at Smythesdale come after a memorable 2016 campaign for the senior side, which broke a five-year drought with its round two triumph over Skipton. The Bulldogs backed that up two weeks later with victory over Carngham-Linton.

“That was the best year we’ve had since we’ve been in the Central Highlands Football League and we sort of really seen our hard work come through,” he said.

“So this year, in theory, should have been better again, but it sort of hasn’t.”

The meeting on Monday, February 27 will be held at the Smythesdale clubrooms from 6.30pm.