For the first time in the club’s history, the Deniliquin Rams will field an Under 12s side in the Goulburn Campaspe Junior Football League.
The news comes after the club made a successful bid to AFL Goulburn Murray in trying to enter a side, just one year after first forming a development side.
The Under 12s Rams will be led by former Blighty senior coach Rob Wren.
‘‘We looked at it at the start of the year as a long-term goal,’’ he said.
‘‘There is always younger players who want to play but miss out due to their age and size.
‘‘The Under 12s comp gives them a chance to compete against kids their own size, rather than coming up against a 14 year-old who towers over them.
‘‘We had a trial of it this year and we consistently had 24 players each weekend.’’
The Rams competing in the Under 12s will give footy players who complete their Auskick program a chance to step into competitive footy.
Wren said this is a crucial step in the right direction to help identify future stars of the game.
‘‘It’s outstanding for the kids and it gives them a real pathway for them to develop,’’ he said.
‘‘When they reach that age of wanting to play competitive footy there hasn’t been too many options until recent years.
‘‘We identified that we needed something for the younger players to keep them interested.
‘‘It’s fantastic for not only the club but for Deni in general.’’
Wren led the Under 12s development during the 2019 season, with the young footy stars playing a handful of games during the year.
It was an eye-opening experience for the former senior coach.
‘‘I’ve coached senior footy but nothing compares to this,’’ he said.
‘‘I first got involved because my young bloke is at the awkward age between Auskick and fourths footy.
‘‘The opportunity we have given them has definitely not been lost.
‘‘I’ve gotten so much more reward out of coaching the young blokes.
‘‘The gratitude they have shown towards me for running training sessions for them and playing games on some occasions has been amazing.
‘‘Every time I had at least two or three players thank me for what we’ve done.
‘‘Now we’re looking at the potential of growing from having and Under 12s side, to also fielding an Under 10s side.
‘‘Right now we can only field Under 12s but if we get enough interested we can look at having the Under 10s in the future.’’
The Under 12s will begin their pre-season training early next year.
If you have a child who wants to play or have any other inquiries, phone Rob Wren on 0437 560 230.