Young Giants

Smithton Football Club will introduce a Circular Head Giants Under 17 girls side to the North West Junior Football League this season alongside Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 teams. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

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NWJFL. The future of football is in the grip of the next generation.

Smithton Football Club is this year introducing a junior development committee to provide advanced opportunities for young footballers, including the introduction of a junior girls’ side.

“Our sole focus is to give Circular Head kids the opportunity to become the best footballers they can be,” says committee president Clinton ‘Ox’ McLaren. “By providing a professional atmosphere with the best junior coaches, facilities and equipment, playing on the best grounds, against the best kids in their particular age group.”

The Circular Head Giants will this year enter an Under 12 and Under 14 side in the North West Junior Football League, while looking to re-establish an Under 16 team.

“We’re trying hard to get an Under 16 boys team together this year after failing to get enough numbers last year,” says McLaren.

“At the moment we have 13 or 14 boys who are training hard and keen but we need a few more numbers to guarantee we can make it happen.

“I’d love to see some of the talented boys that are playing in the Circular Head Football Association dual register and come and test themselves against equally talented boys along the coast.”

The Under 12 side will be coached by Smithton Football Club stalwart Peter Brown as Wayne Tuxworth moves up a division to coach the Under 14 team.

Josh Smith, the 2017 Circular Head Football Association Best and Fairest runner up, will lead the Under 16 side.

Striving to provide development opportunities for young footballers in the region, McLaren says this will not be limited to boys as the club looks to introduce an Under 17 girls squad.

Coached by senior women’s player Alana Jago, the club is seeking an assistant coach to mentor the side as it enters its inaugural season.

“So far numbers have been pretty good with about 15 girls all up attending but again we really need a few more girls to come on board to guarantee we can make this happen,” McLaren says.

“Again this is all about giving the kids of Circular Head the same opportunities they would get living in other areas. Every NWFL team is aiming to have a junior girls team in 2018 and it would be great to see Circular Head girls get together and create our first ever junior girls team.”

Working with AFL Tasmania and Hawthorn and North Melbourne football clubs, the committee is looking to organise an end of year trip for the Under 16 squad to tour the elite level facilities, meet with players and watch a live match.

“We have some very talented kids in Circular Head and I’m confident that if we could put teams together with the best kids from each age group we can match it with the best teams on the coast,” says McLaren.

The club has also recently purchased a mini bus to provide transport for players to away games and ease the pressure off parents and guardians.

For more information, to register your child or volunteer as part of the junior program contact Clinton ‘Ox’ McLaren on 0432 118 072, or ‘Like’ the Smithton Football Club NWFL Juniors page on Facebook. The North West Junior Football League will begin Sunday April 8.

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