PRESIDENT of the Nowra Blues juniors Tony Johnston questioned the need for AFL emergency response co-ordinators at local games.
“The reality is this is NSW not Victoria and I don’t think these requirements have been thought through in terms of junior footy,” he said.
“We find it hard as is it to get volunteers involved and this is another position we now have to fill.
“Getting goal umpires on a regular basis is difficult.
“It gets hard just having people on the ground.
“I know there were a few incidents in Victoria over the past few years and this is probably why there has been a broad brush approach by the AFL to cover themselves.
“I think most junior clubs or grounds already have plans in place for when there is an emergency – they just don’t have one person overseeing it.
“I can understand what the powers to be are trying to achieve and sympathise with their intent but the practical application in a place like Nowra and our league is difficult.”
He said in the Shoalhaven a number of clubs were only just getting their 2013 activities under way.
“We have boys who are still playing cricket and haven’t turned up to training and a lot of parents are the same, they are still involved in summer sports and not thinking about winter games,” he said.
“In Victoria is it’s a religion; here it is optional.”
He questioned the benefit for the game if either club turned up to games without an ERC, meaning the match would be a forfeit by the home team.
“It’s not going to help the league having games forfeited,” he said.
“If games go ahead without [an ERC], where does the liability fall?”
Mr Johnston said just becoming an ERC was not an easy process.
“First of all for the person to undertake the ERC course they must have their first aid certificate,” he said.
“Then they have to spend a fair bit of money and time in doing the ERC course.
“And then that person has to stay at the grounds for all the games.
“I don’t think there has been a person born yet who has attended 100 per cent of junior games, so realistically you are going to need two ERC trained people in case one is away or unavailable.
“So in the end you need two qualified people.”