We are excited to announce that Lane Cove and North Ryde will be working closely together as our club moves into youth football.
Lane Cove split out from St Michaels in 2013 and has been growing strongly ever since. We started out with roughly 20 kids kicking a footy around Blackman Park. Last year we had 140 Auskickers, and nine junior teams across age groups up to U11.
However, in most sports across Australia, you get a natural decline in participation as children enter high school. This is when study, social activities and part-time work pressures are increasing. Participation drop-out then accelerates through the teenage years.
In Sydney we are also facing diminishing available green space and an explosion in Auskick and junior clubs on the North Shore.
We as a club are now facing these challenges.
We as a club will always be fun & family first. However, we also want to provide an avenue for children who want to further develop their skills in this sport. As such, we will also support success.
Under this new strategy, we will have a much better chance of providing a club environment that caters to all age groups and skill sets the school years.
In fact, it will allow both clubs to have competitive and participation based options, and increased access to coaching resources.
This will start with a joint venture with the Dockers in the U13 boys/mixed age group in 2018. This team, to be known as North Ryde Lane Cove U13, was approved by the AFL this week.
But it will most likely develop into a more club wide venture in years to come. North Ryde is a natural fit with Lane Cove. They have a very similar culture, based on fun and families. They also have some excellent facilities at ELS Hall, which is only a 10 min drive from Blackman Park.
This structure is a common set up across the the North Shore and the wider Sydney basin. Willoughby Wildcats have a joint venture with Mosman Swans from the U13 age groups and higher. Drummoyne Power and Concord Giants have also formed the Canada Bays Cannons for U12-U17 age groups.
In addition to this, we also have a new venture with Mercy College in the youth girls U15 age group. We have teamed up with the Chatswood-based girls school to provide an option for their year 7 and 8 girls to play AFL in a local club based competition. This will be open to any girls, no matter what school you attend.
Below is a diagram outlining the structure of the club and the pathway for children from Auskick to senio. We hope this provides some clarity for parents.