MARYBOROUGH president Mick Reid says the Magpies will have the numbers to field senior and reserves teams in the Bendigo Football League this year, with the club’s focus now on building its under-18 stocks.
A month ago the Magpies launched an SOS campaign, asking the community if it wants the club to retain its status in the BFL after struggling for numbers.
Reid told the Bendigo Advertiser on December 18 the club only had about 20 players committed for seniors and reserves.
However, Reid said on Wednesday that number had now grown to 45 players who have indicated their intention to play with the Magpies this year.
The Magpies have until the start of February to prove their capacity to field all football and netball teams this year or risk dropping out of the league.
“We’re sitting pretty well at the moment,” Reid said.
“We haven’t started back training yet, but we’ve been recruiting well.
“We’ve got a lot more committed players now, so it’s looking alright.
“We’ve got about 45 players ready to go, and there’s probably another 10 or 12 quality players we’re waiting on.
“Out of the 45 players, there’s probably a good 28 to 30 who are quality players, so things are looking good.
“The coaches (Jamie Bond and Glen Chadwick) have done a hell of a job with all the phonecalls they have been making in talking to players.
“We’ve now got to make sure we get our under-18s up and running... that’s the biggest thing.”
The Magpies were unable to field an under-18 side in the BFL last year.
The lack of under-18 players is a problem that has plagued the Magpies in recent seasons.
“The seniors (numbers) isn’t the problem, it’s the under-18s,” Reid said.
“If we can get them up and running, we’ll be right, so that’s what we’re concentrating on.”
Reid said the Magpies had 12 players from last year’s Maryborough under-16 side who had indicated they would play in the under-18s.
“We’ve got a dozen-or-so from the under-16s coming up. There’s some others who want to go out to the district league, and some from the district league who want to come in,” Reid said.
“When they make up their minds, that’s when we’ll know what’s going on.
“Of the under-18 teams we’ve had, we’ve had no more than 20 players.
“If we can get 25 under-18 kids it would be great, but it’s hard to get that many when the district league clubs are struggling with their juniors as well.”