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Bush football buckling under weight of drought

Australia’s worst drought in a century has its foot on the throat of regional sport.

General Manager of the Western Australian Country Football League Joe Georgiades has told Macquarie Sports Radio rural competitions are struggling to hang onto their players as drought takes hold in the bush.

“We certainly don’t want to go as far as saying it’s on life support, but certainly there are a number of issues that have been creeping into our agricultural community over a number of years,” Mr Georgiades told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.

Some teams in regional WA are having to pay players to make up the numbers on the field.

While many older players have turned their attention to tackling the drought, leaving less time for footy, Mr Georgiades says there are too few younger players coming up to replace them.

“The younger age players are more attracted to life in the city… rather than the isolation of living out on a country town,” Mr Georgiades said.

“A lot of players now are playing footy well into their 40’s, which is a little bit alarming. Some players have to double up, which means they have to play reserves and then play league just so the team’s got enough,” he said.

If the trend is not reversed, Mr Georgiades says there is a legitimate concern several clubs could “fall over in 5 or 10 years’ time”.

Click below to hear the interview and listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin 4.00am-7.00am Saturday and Sunday mornings