After the Goulburn Swans called off their 2020 campaign due to COVID-19, some among the club's committee feared it was the end of Aussie Rules in Goulburn.
However, last month, a group of Swans administrators came together and pledged to put forward a team in the AFL Canberra 2021 competition.
"We sat down about six weeks ago, there was about eight blokes, and we said 'There's no way in the world we're not entering a team'," head coach Simon Treloar said.
"There was eight or so passionate blokes who said 'We're doing this, let's go.'"
The club subsequently announced that its pre-season training would begin in early February. Since then, its ranks have swelled as an influx of younger players began taking part.
"We've got about 22 players on the list at the moment, which is good," Treloar said.
"We've got a lot of young, new faces coming into the club, which is promising."
Many of the new recruits are new to the sport, or haven't played since their junior days. This means training has mostly consisted of basic skillwork and lessons about the tactics of AFL.
"It's going to be a great year for anyone who's looking to try something different. It's the best year to come along and give it a crack because there's going to be lots of people who don't know what they're doing to a point," Treloar said.
"We're focusing on basic skills and an easy game plan that we're trying to carry out every week. Trying to help them understand different parts of the game, different moves we'll use during the game, either attacking or defending.
"It's been good fun."
The spate of new recruits has brought a sense of youth and vitality to the club. In recent years, the Swans have sometimes struggled for numbers and been forced to call up older players who only take to the field sporadically.
"It is really nice to see those young faces around the club, and we're excited to give some of the new guys a crack," he said.
The Swans will play in the AFL Canberra Men's Division Four competition, but as yet there is no set starting date.
Treloar confirmed that the club is looking to play either a trial match or an inter-club game to help acclimate the new players to the physical stress of football. Further details on these games will be announced in coming weeks.
The Swans are also offering to cover the season fees of any high school students in Years 11 or 12 who are interested in playing Aussie Rules. For further information, contact the Goulburn Swans Facebook page.
The club trains every Wednesday night from 6pm at Goodhew Oval.
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