Past players and officials, an important part of the VFL
There was an estimated crowd of 2000 people at Chirnside Park today to see Werribee take on Sandringham, in a rematch of last year's grand final and it's great that such a big crowd was out supportung the VFL competition.
What really pleased me was seeing a lot of people not dressed in Bulldogs or Demons gear and more interested in the VFL listed players, rather than just coming to check out how the fringe AFL listed players were going.
This is a strong endorsement for a competition, that until the year 2000, was considered to be slowly deminishing and could have possibly be extinct within the next five to ten years at the time of the revamp.
Many of the former greats who have worn the black and gold were there, including Werribee Football Club life members Michael Frost and James Puli who are both now plying their trade in the local WRFL competition with Yarraville and Hoppers Crossing respectively.
It's players like these and past officials that have contributed to the rich history of not just Werribee but the competition as a whole, it's really sad that the old VFA is to an extent being forgotten or ignored by the die hard footy fans of today.
Many football purists would argue the VFA was at it's best in it's hey day during the 1960s and 70s when it was 16 players a side, which made for a more free flowing style of football which wasn't as fast as our game has become today.
This might be true, but to save it we really need to get the past players and officials involved again in various capacities if Football Victoria wants the competition to continue to be the premier state league in Australia.
Players may come and go from the VFL clubs for various reasons, but they should never be forgotten by the club they played for. This also includes AFL listed player in recent years who have established themselves as top notch VFL players, but have struggled to cement a spot in an AFL side. For example, Melbourne's Paul Johnson, who won last year's Liston Trophy whilst playing for Sandringham.
The VFL has been reinvigorated, but attitudes towards it need to be changed and this will happen if Football Victoria promotes the competition with a much more positive attitude.
You never know, it may bring back some of the old VFA diehards who have become disenchanted with the comepetition following the restructure in 2000.