System sidelines juniors, says Sims


THE player points system has again raised contention among Riddell District Football League clubs after it prevented three junior players from being given senior games at the weekend.

With Diggers Rest’s opponent Broadford not fielding an under-18.5s side this season, Burras coach Shaun Sims wanted to give three juniors a taste of senior football, but was not able to.

“Some of these players have been at our club since under-16s, since before the points system even came in,” he said. “I think it’s wrong. It shouldn’t stop young kids getting a game.”

While not wanting to disrespect the opposition, Sims said the senior fixture against the winless Kangaroos was “a perfect opportunity” to elevate the trio of youngsters, but the players being graded as “three or four points” prevented the club from doing that.

“It’s just absolutely crazy,” Sims said.

“It’s frustrating.”

Diggers Rest went on to beat the Kangaroos 29.22 (196) to 2.2 (14), with Mark Freeth (three goals) named best afield, while Tom Gleeson bagged six majors.

Reaching the halfway point of the season, Diggers Rest sits second on the ladder having only lost one match.

Sims said he was pleased with the team’s form, especially considering its unsettled line-up with forced changes every week.

“Our improvement this year has come from guys like Mark Freeth, Corey Wright, Steven Fogarty, Jack Wilson,” he said.

“We have brought in a development coach and we are starting to see the benefit of that.

“We haven’t had a regular 26 players all year, but that is also a good thing because we are developing players and playing them in different positions.”

But while the Burras have enjoyed significant success, their next three rounds against fellow top-four sides Wallan, Rupertswood and Macedon will prove crucial.

“We want to win every game of football we play and we want to keep improving,” Sims said.

The coach said he expected Stuart Clarke, Michael Kilty, Jordan Aitken and Matthew Krul to return this week.

Originally published in the Sunbury Leader 19/6/2017: