Old boys muster to save bombers
FASSIFERN'S old boys have decided it is time to do something about the club's player crisis.
The Bombers are hosting an over-35 versus under-35 match at Hayes Oval, Harrisville, on March 19 to try and kick-start the club's 2011 season.
The club is in a dire situation, struggling to get players from the region to turn out for the proud country club.
In recent seasons, the club has resorted to importing players from Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand and, this season, from the Torres Strait Islands to boost their prospects.
When new coach Dean Daylight walked out early in the year, it threw preparations for the coming season into further disarray.
The situation has motivated a group of the club's old boys to do what they can to help out.
The idea of an oldies versus youngsters match, which was first put forward by Kalbar publican Tim Stamford, has proved popular, with 35 under-35s and almost 50 over-35s putting their hand up to turn out.
The likes of Sam Ward, Graham Taylor and Ted Stephan will lace on the boots again to put the young pups through their paces.
The big hope is a large portion of the under-35s will then be persuaded to commit to the club for the season.
The under-35s will wear the old Boonah Rabbitohs jerseys while the oldies will turn out in Harrisville-Peak Crossing jerseys, which existed before the Bombers.
The jerseys will be auctioned off following the match to raise funds for the club.
“If the players have a game and enjoy it again, who knows what happens,” said former Bomber and now the club's under-13 coach Joel Parcell.
“Everyone's trying hard enough to keep the club going. But nothing seems to be working.”
The game will kick off at 3pm, following a curtain-raiser, an open ladies touch football game from 1pm.
Parcell does not entirely agree with the club's policy of relying on imported players but admits it is all that has kept the Bombers competitive in the past three seasons.
Hopefully, the old boys game convinces many of the merits of supporting the club.
“I think we're going to struggle in A grade unless we do get a lot of imports,” Parcell said.
“There are not a lot of locals keen to play, the way we're going.
“There are a lot of players out there. It's just getting them there.
“This could be a start.”
It seems a long time ago that Parcell was a young up-and-comer and all he and his friends wanted was to play A grade for the Bombers.
“It was massive,” the 29-year-old builder said.
“Fassifern used to be awesome.
“There was a lot of players in the area.
“I remember playing with Ted Stephan and Paul Roderick.
“Playing A grade for the Fassifern club was what you strived for when you were playing in the juniors.”
Priorities have changed for the young people in the region.
“Just with work and younger people buying houses, it is harder to commit to the game,” Parcell said.
However, Parcell does not believe the club's extinction is inevitable. “I don't think it's quite there yet,” he said.
“We just need a bit more interest to get the club back the way it was.
“We used to have heaps of functions and blokes couldn't wait for footy season.
“But times are changing.
“Everything is so dear.
“You've got to be mindful of what's happening at home before you worry about what's happening outside.”