GREAT to see all of the up-and-coming football talent, boys and girls on display over the weekend when the Wanganui representative age-group sides hosted Manawatu and Taranaki in "Game Day" 1.
Wembley Park was bustling with eager players, supportive parents and officials.
It was also great to see a number of Wanganui's up-and-coming referees out getting some decent experience as they begin what could be long careers with the whistle.
To the games themselves, the emphasis was not on results, but more development of the identified collective talents. But there arises a point of interest ... the 16 age-group girls are allowed to call on older players to help out the younger ones come game time.
All sounds fine, and has its positives; as most know, a couple of "experienced" heads can do wonders for others. But when a young one doesn't even get on, where is the development? I can happily say this was not an issue for the Wanganui contingent. A bit of food for thought for the powers that be perhaps?
Wanganui sides put up some pretty determined efforts considering it was their first real hit-out together, and with a late start to the training programme, things will improve for the next game day in Hawke's Bay at the end of the month. Best of luck to all, as the rest of us take a summer break. Go hard, do yourselves proud, you are Wanganui!
IT HAS been a long season, and this is my final input for 2011.
I would like to thank the Keegans (Georgina and Ivan) from Castlecliff United for their tireless work for football as a whole - not only do they have a hot coffee ready every Saturday morning, but they are true promoters of the game, from the most important juniors through to not only their own senior teams, but also most other clubs in our city.
Also Paul (Podge) Maguire, a true football fanatic, who follows the game with a passion and is seriously humorous to go with it. He will be seen not only "in the kitchen at parties" but catching most games he can at Wembley.
We should remember a friend to all we lost during the season just gone ... Roly Taylor. Roly gave his all to everyone (not just football).
Thanks to my personal support staff of my mate and son Joseph, he knows just about everyone at the Park and can remind me of the things I forget. Also thanks to Mark Gorman, Rodger Low (City) and Kerry McGuiness (Athletic), for the times they put up with me ringing early doors on a Sunday to get an away fixture report.
Anyway ... that's me for 2011, I'm off to have a rest, enjoy your summer (it can't be that far away).
For those who can't get enough of the game, hopefully the world football leagues will fill the cravings?
Let's hope the Phoenix can get under way, given the uncertainty until last week. We need a little bit more to cheer about from New Zealand teams.
Maybe they can follow the Warriors' example and make it to that last hurdle of a grand final? It would be great if another Kiwi side managed to rattle the Aussie establishments.