In a boost for aspiring football players in the Macleay, Football Mid North Coast (FMNC) launched a new hub in Gladstone this season to improve the development of local players.
The program currently has four teams, an Under-9s, Under-10s, Under-11s and a girls under-10s, but the plan is to increase the number of sides in the coming years.
Up until this season, junior football players who were seeking high level coaching and representative opportunities had to travel to Port Macquarie twice a week for training.
"There was heaps of limitations on locals when the closest development program was in Port Macquarie," FMNC development coach for the Macleay Under-11s squad Sean Boulton said.
"It obviously takes a lot of time out of your week to drive to Port Macquarie and some families couldn't afford it.
"But having a hub right here in the Macleay takes that away. Now everyone has an opportunity."
Boulton claims talented Macleay players have slipped through the cracks, as they weren't able to attend the hub in Port Macquarie.
The development coach is hopeful the new hub will create a platform for the players to be noticed.
"Only one player in all of the teams has played representative football in the past, but they have proven they are all capable of playing at that level," Boulton said.
"In the past, players from the Macleay have gone unnoticed but this hub will open it up for the future generations.
"We needed it here, I have been in the region for six years and the locals have been screaming for a local development program for years."
The Macleay representative sides attended their first gala day at Armidale on Saturday and left with impressive results.
The Under-9/10s side won two games, drew one and lost three.
"They were absolutely fantastic for their first hit out together as a team," Boulton said.
"They came up against the Emerging Jets girls Under-12s side and kept them to a nil-all draw, which was superb."
The Macleay hub train at Gladstone on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.
The representative sides will attend gala days in Coffs Harbour over the next four months.
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