Earlier this month
A National Clubs Tournament for U18s
Following the NCAA basketball I can only marvel at how American supporters embrace their local team. Even when the quality of the team is not that high, the passion of the fans and their love of the contest make the games worth watching.
Compare this situation with the state of the game here.
Have a look at some of the Aust junior comp matches on youtube - the crowd watching rarely exceeds 100 persons, mostly people related to the players or staff. Let's face it - onlookers do not embrace metro-country regional teams. Nor are they meant to.
The aim of a national comp based on metro-country regions is to expose local talent to a high enough standard of competition, so that talent can be identified. The players involved recognize this and value highly the current arrangements for national junior comps. It has its role - I am not suggesting that this system be replaced.
My concern is how to foster broader community engagement with the game. IMO the structure of representative competition matters - having local teams playing on the national stage has potential to attract attention of the broader public.
We should investigate whether there are gaps in scheduling to stage a week long national tournament for junior club teams - say at the U18s level - centered in a city or regional centre. (After U18s clubs tend to lose players due to study commitments or playing opportunities elsewhere).