‘We need to find players, and quickly’: Changing tastes leading to struggles for once-great team

There are fears one of Tasmania’s former powerhouse football teams is dangerously close to not being able to field a team, with sporting greats likening the situation to a canary in a coalmine for other clubs.

The Glenorchy Magpies, famous for being the former home of all-time Australian rules greats Peter Hudson and Roy Cazaly, have struggled to attract players to the club for more than 12 months, but ahead of this year’s Tasmanian State League season, the situation has worsened.

At least one recent training session saw just 12 dedicated players on the track, prompting fears for the future of the club, which boasts 17 premierships and has been a traditional powerhouse of Tasmanian football.

But Tim Woodham, who will contest the presidency of the club at its upcoming annual general meeting, believes the tide will turn in the coming weeks.

“I don’t want to go into recession, because I believe you don’t come back but we do need to find some players and quickly,” he said.

“We haven’t got any quick fixes at the minute, and it might take a little while to turn around but one day Glenorchy will be back as a powerful club again.”

The club has some famous exports, such as all-time great Peter Hudson.(Supplied: www.tasmanianstateleague.com.au)

Interim president Scott Donaghy told ABC Radio Hobart on Tuesday that while numbers were low, the Magpies situation had been overblown and that he was expecting a steady return of players to the club in the coming weeks.

A young man stands on a run track and smiles.
Sprint star Jack Hale has been signed by the club as a high-performance coach.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

“We’ve told AFL Tas that we’ll be putting a team on the park. As far as we’re concerned, we will be putting a team on the park, and hopefully a second team,” he said.

Things are already starting to turn, with about 30 players attending a pre-season running session at Risdon Brook Dam this morning.

The club has also signed sprint star Jack Hale as a high-performance coach.

But answers are being sought as to how the famous club has declined so rapidly.

Glenorchy a ‘warning sign’ for other clubs

Glenorchy, which went winless at senior level last year, and was forced to forfeit two second-tier development league games, is a canary in the coal mine, according to former greats.

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