IN THE DOGHOUSE: Kevin Hillier

■ It’s the time of year when all football clubs are looking for players, coaches and trainers for the coming season. Gone are the days when all these roles were filled by volunteers. These days roles for volunteers are becoming fewer and fewer. You only have to look at someone like Dr Greg Anderson at Werribee Football Club. He’s a club legend and life member, a sponsor, and part of the furniture. The Doc, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, is a dying breed. He comes from a generation that would get involved in a club and never ask for a pay cheque. While times have changed, being involved at a club is still a good thing to have on your CV. Roles are not expected to be voluntary these days, because the commitment is more and more time-consuming as all clubs become more professional. Sports clubs are changing – it’s a new landscape, whether we like it or not.

■ I question whether cricket is losing the battle against football as our national sport, and whether soccer is slowly coming up on all the major sports as a legitimate challenger … school yards are more likely to be the scene of a soccer match than either cricket or football. There is no doubt soccer is the easiest game to play in any configuration – one ball, some space and off you go. The basic rules are simple and, unlike cricket and AFL, it requires minimum skill to be involved and feel part of the game. All sports have to take a reality check and engage with the next generation in all aspects, whether that be as a player, supporter or whatever.

■ It was only a few years ago that no one talked about local footy till after Christmas, but those days are gone. WRFL premiership teams used not to train till after the New Year, but not any more. They all start a program pre-Melbourne Cup day and get stuck into it well before Christmas, such is the professionalism these days. I’m not convinced it’s a good thing, but it is the way of the world. If you put your hand out for a payment then you have to put in the effort to justify that reward. My only hope is that junior players continue to play the game because they love it rather than because they can make a lot of money playing it.

■ Finally, vale Alva Bugg. The Werribee sports community sends its condolences to Artie and his family and friends in the sad passing of Alva. RIP.

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