AFL must back local leagues, says 'Roo' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL must back local leagues, says 'Roo'

10/06/2011 07:54:29 PM Comments (0)

Newly-inducted AFL Hall Of Fame member Mark Ricciuto wants the league to properly look after its roots as the game expands into new markets.

Ricciuto used his acceptance speech at Thursday's Hall Of Fame induction dinner to call on the AFL to make sure country clubs are receiving enough support.

The Brownlow Medallist said his original league in SA's Riverland area had folded.

Ricciuto started his junior football with the Ramco club, part of the Mid-Murray Football Association.

That league began in 1910 but wound up last year.

"Although it is great to see the Gold Coast and GWS, I just hope ... we put as much effort, resources and brain power into the traditional football states to make sure we don't lose players like myself or Brad Helbig at Richmond who grew up at Ramco," Ricciuto said.

"We need to make sure we don't lose clubs like Morgan or Caddell and make sure they stay strong as much as we can.

"I know you can't throw money in the wrong places but those towns .... aren't the same once the footy clubs are gone."

Ricciuto also stressed he was a fan of AFL expansion, saying the Suns were one of his favourite teams to watch.

He played for Riverland club Waikerie before joining SANFL club West Adelaide and then the Crows in the early 1990s.

His stellar 312-game career meant Ricciuto was always going to achieve Hall Of Fame selection.

He was in a quartet of modern greats who were inducted as soon as they became eligible, along with Essendon's James Hird, Collingwood star Nathan Buckley and three-time Brisbane premiership captain Michael Voss.

Veteran broadcaster Tony Charlton and the late Tasmanian football icon Horrie Gorringe were the other inductees this year.

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