There must be something in the water – and it’s not red cordial – that has the youngsters clamouring to don the colours of Corindi Red Rock in North Coast Football.
The comparatively small club has been fielding an eye-popping five sides in this season’s 6 &7 years division.
Kel Bennett, still presiding at the club in his 14th year at the helm, was a little surprised to realise that Corindi Red Rock were up there with the big clubs and their large communities when it came to participation at entry-age level.
“We’re actually down a little from last year because of COVID. We had a halt, then a revamped season, but 80 per cent of the kids still wanted to play,” Kel said.
He believed getting numbers in the early ages wasn’t so much the challenge as keeping them.
“We find we get a fair drop in the 9s to 10s, when kids find other sports, or cheaper ones,” Kel said.
“But the diehard ones will stay and even those who drift away will often come back when they’re 12 or 13 – and it doesn’t take them long to get into it because they’ve still got those skills.”
While there must be something in the water which brings Corindi Red Rock such great foundation, it’s the salty liquid nearby that is the other big show at the village.
“Surfing takes a lot of our kids away,” Kel said. Such be the price of living in paradise.
But the man who has been on the ground since the club’s formation in the mid to late ’90s has no doubt the future is ever bright.
“I’ve got grandkids of my own coming through now,” he said.
“And we certainly encourage the young ones. A couple of times a year we’ll have a barbecue after training – to give a little bit back,” he said.
So the sizzling snags not the water after all just might be the secret to wooing the young tyros.