Plain-talking Group 4 president Mick Schmiedel has bemoaned the dramatic drop in junior league players graduating to the senior ranks in the region – and has laid the blame on “lazy” parents and “soft” children.
With the league heartland in danger of becoming a wasteland in the under-16 and under-18 ranks, the former long-standing player, who is a veteran administrator and coach, said parents needed to get “off the couch” and get their kids involved in league.
“I put the blame, and they won’t like this, squarely at mums and dads,” he said.
“I think a lot of mums and dads have just got too lazy now to take their kids to training or go down to the footy to watch.
“They’d rather sit at home or … God knows what they’re doing.”
Schmiedel, who coaches Collegian Warriors’ first grade and under-13 sides, also unloaded of kids – telling them to harden up.
He said years ago if a player “got a spray” from the coach he “took it on the chin”.
“Now (it’s), ‘I’m not copping that. I’m going to another sport. I don’t deserve that’,” he said.
“Well, you probably did deserve it. You’ve been a little sh** at training, you weren’t doing what you were told, deal with it … And that’s the problem we’ve got.
“Personally, I think we’ve become such a cotton wool society that we’ve got to be so careful of people’s feelings that we don’t want to upset them.
“Hang on. Little Johnny has been a sh** of a kid, so I told him to pull his head in or he’s doing laps. And he goes home crying because the coach was nasty.”
Schmiedel said the situation was so dire there were only three under-16 sides and four under-18 sides this season.
“So that tells you there’s not a lot (of players) coming through,” he said.
“I think there’s only four (under) 15 sides at the moment.”
He added: “The thing with sport in general is we’re competing in a market that everyone wants, and you’ve got rugby union and you’ve got AFL going strong and soccer going strong, basketball’s strong.
“So we’re all trying to dip into the same player pool … which makes it difficult.”