God Bless you Nathan Buckley
There's no need to reminisce about the days when 5,000 people regularly
swarmed to local VFA grounds. The profound message of the crowd
of 5,000 at Box Hill for Nathan Buckley's return is that the VFA/VFL
has a real future. It doesn't matter that the occasional grumpy
old man wants to belittle the competition with the tag 'reserves'.
The bond between football lovers and players is deep enough to withstand
the barbs. Wasn't it inspiring to see Buckley circled by Williamstown
team-mates in the rooms after the thrilling victory? And didn't
he love it. The match at Box Hill on Sunday confirmed that AFL supporters
provide VFA/VFL clubs with a massive potential market. What many
people often forget is that it was supporters of League football
who swelled VFA crowds in the '70s.
|What a crowd
And who did they come to see? Ageing players like Nathan Buckley,
young stars and colourful football. A Collingwood friend of mine
who went to the game said she'll definitely go again. On Sunday
she stood between Len Thompson and the Cloke family and enjoyed
every moment. 'It's so good for kids. Being able to kick the footy
on the ground and listen to the coaches makes VFL footy a goldmine,'
she said. Once the VFA/VFL clubs have cemented their identity and
the balance of AFL and VFL players is resolved, the VFL could be
in for a renaissance. If only that mob in at AFL headquarters would
get out of the boardroom and promote the local game.