Local football clubs to receive $8 million

Members of the Western Region Football League are joined by (L-R) Telstra's Brent Smart, Collingwood's Josh Daicos, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, Essendon's Bonnie Toogood and AFL's Rob Auld. 360917_01

Local football clubs throughout the north west will receive an $8 million boost over the next four years.

A pool of $2 million will be distributed every year starting in 2024, where eligible metro footy clubs will be able to apply for grants up to $20,000.

The AFL in collaboration with Telstra announced its footy country grants program on Thursday, September 14.

The aim of the program is to help strengthen, sustain and grow local footy through upgrading facilities or services the club needs.

Caroline Springs’, Western Region Football League coach and AFL great Brian Lake said these grants will have lasting effects on clubs like his.

“It’s fantastic… we’re a lucky club. We have 23 teams at the moment, but what happens is you outgrow your facilities very quickly,” the three-time premiership Hawk said.

“We are probably in desperate need for an upgrade in our lights, so we can play a lot more Friday nights, Sunday twilight as well, to fit in all these sides that we’ve got.

“It’s been amazing… we probably have six or seven sides of women playing football so it’s about putting them in the right time slots.

“That’s been the hardest thing, sometimes they’re playing at 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning, when the senior men and under 18’s are playing, so to have enough people helping out, is tough.

“So to open up some more time slots like a Friday night or a twilight, even if it’s the under 18’s playing then, is crucial.”

AFL chief executive Gillion McLachlan said this initiative follows the league’s commitment to increase investment in local footy.

“Targeted directly at clubs to make volunteering easier, diversify and broaden participation and ensure our game is truly welcoming and inclusive,” he said.

Harper Sercombe