NATHAN Thompson has called on the Kyneton community to support its embattled football-netball club as it fights for survival.
The Tigers are at crisis point in the Bendigo Football-Netball League as they face a severe player shortage that is casting doubt over their capacity to field senior and reserves football teams this year.
Thompson co-coached the Tigers with Derrick Filo last year, and while the 35-year-old former Hawthorn and North Melbourne forward is weighing up his playing future this year, he says the Kyneton community needs to rally around the only senior football-netball club in the town of 6000 people.
“The community needs to rally around this club and show that it wants to have a footy club,” Thompson said yesterday.
“The club needs more people to put their hand up to help run it and more local guys commit to play... if this can happen then there is a future and the club can get back on its feet.
“The off-field stuff last year was absolutely sensational. We had record membership last year of 450 and record sponsorship.
“So there were a lot of positives, but unfortunately, the most important thing was missing, and that was enough committed players and enough people to run the club.
“The people who have been there and putting their time into the club have been fantastic, but there’s just too few of them.
“They need more people who actually love the club and are willing to get in there and help run it. They need more coaches, administrators, team managers and people willing to come down and stand behind the bar and do the jobs that need to be done at all clubs.
“You look at Golden Square... they struggle to get those people, but they have obviously been able to do it well with the way they set up their juniors and build their team behind the scenes.”
The Tigers, who joined the BFNL in 1932 and have won six senior flags, have struggled to compete at senior level for the past 12 years, having made the finals just once (2003) since 2000.
It was another tough year last season with just two wins, although, it was an improvement on 2011 when the Tigers were winless.
“There were some positive signs there last year, but if the guys don’t hang around, do the hard work and train, then unfortunately, a couple of good signs don’t mean much,” said Thompson, who kicked 43 goals last year.
“However, what they do have coming through now is good numbers from a junior and structure point of view.
“They’ve now got the junior players coming through from the under-14s feeding into the senior team and the structure is right to build the club, but is it too little too late?
“I hope for the sake of the club that it’s not, because it’s a fantastic club.”
Thompson, who lives in Doncaster – 100kms from Kyneton – is weighing up his playing future based on family and travel reasons.