Football Mid North Coast to plan representative program

Taree's Jackson Witts clears the ball during the clash against Macleay Valley. Witts is a member of the Football Mid North Coast Southern selection side to play the Newcastle Jets next Tuesday night in Port Macquarie.
Taree's Jackson Witts clears the ball during the clash against Macleay Valley. Witts is a member of the Football Mid North Coast Southern selection side to play the Newcastle Jets next Tuesday night in Port Macquarie.

FOOTBALL Mid North Coast’s board will look at the possibility of adding a representative program to the zone’s calendar next year.

As reported last week, FMNC chairman Mike Parsons hopes a North/South match will be played annually, starting this year.

FMNC’s Northern and Southern squads will play Newcastle Jets in a trial game on Tuesday night Port Macquarie Regional Stadium, where a crowd of more than 5000 is expected. Last year more than 4000 watched the Jets go round against the two FMNC squads.

“Now we’re looking to massage a North/South match into our calendar,’’ Mr Parsons said.

“It’s just finding the right time to play it – we’ve even had a suggestion that we wait until the end of the season.’’

Mr Parsons agreed there’s not enough opportunities for players to experience representative matches once they leave junior ranks.

“While the North/South wouldn’t be a pathways-type game, it would be a chance for our players to enjoy rep football,’’ he added.

Mr Parsons said there is even consideration to picking a FMNC squad to tackle sides from neighbouring zones, possibly the Coffs Harbour-based North Coast Football.

“We could even head to Newcastle for a match,’’ he said.

However, Mr Parsons reiterated that fitting the extra games into an already busy season would be tricky.

“We’re talking about amateur footballers here,’’ he said.

“They have to work and families while their commitment to club football is big. We have to factor in these things before we make any decision about playing representative games.’’

He said a suggestion a match be played leading into the June long weekend – when there’s a general bye in the premier league – would be discussed at board level.

Southern squad coach Rod Bartley from Taree backs the call for a North/South game.

“It seems there’s a real enthusiasm for the match to go ahead,’’ he said.

Bartley thinks the game should be played leading into the visit from the Jets if it is confirmed the A-League powerhouse will return to the Mid North Coast next year.

Three Taree players, Jackson Witts, Curtis Jones and Lucas Mepham will be members of the Southern squad on Tuesday night.

As reported in yesterday’s Extra, the Jets will conduct a coaching clinic for juniors aged 6-14 at Forster’s Boronia Park on Monday from 3pm to 4pm. Those attending can register on Football Mid North Coast’s Facebook page. The Jets will also attend a FMNC holiday coaching clinic at the Zone Field at Taree Recreation Centre next Wednesday. Both events will be open to the public.