The Weekly Advertiser

EDITORIAL: Giants reflecting rural resilience

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017
Only the most blind of sporting lovers in the region would have failed to recognise that Southern Mallee Giants have won a spot in a Wimmera Football League grand final.
‘So what?’, some might say, ‘it’s just another country footy team playing in another country competition, in another country footy match’.
But probe a little deeper and it soon becomes obvious that the Giants, an amalgam of Beulah and Hopetoun districts, represent more than football and netball.
The truth is, they provide a snapshot into everything from regional socio-economic circumstances, demographics and shrinking population to the passion that drives regional organisations and communities.
The Giants are flying a flag, not only for their respective towns, but also for a large relatively isolated chunk of western Victoria.
Despite reputations for having fiercely loyal inhabitants and now for producing a potent sporting team, Hopetoun and Beulah remain mere specks on a vast Mallee landscape.
The reality is that not many people live in the district.
The 2016 census showed Hopetoun had a population of 739 and Beulah 207. No wonder the footy club struggles to find youngsters for its junior teams.
It is amazing that in a few short years two former rival towns, in coming together, are now challenging the region’s best in the sporting arena.
The Giants are a prime example of a regional collective refusing to let standards slip and being willing to embrace challenge regardless of the pressures of change.
Behind the glitter of success following the Giants in their progress is a shadow of uncertainty. Not specifically about this sporting club or the specific towns they represent, but Wimmera-Mallee rural communities in general.
Hopetoun and Beulah communities, with typical rural resilience and similar to other communities across our region, have made the best from a tough circumstance and we salute them.
We also point a finger to the south-east and ask Spring Street if it’s happy to let our regional communities continue to shrink.

The entire September 12, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Sep 12 2018

Posted by on Sep 12 2018. Filed under Opinion, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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