Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

The Double Blues (Sturt FC) continues to struggle financially and this, being mainstream news, interferes with the Master Planning currently underway by the City of Unley for the Unley Oval.

Sturt are in a parlous financial position of that there is no doubt, running up last year another $400,000 plus debt.

Mr Benson told the Eastern Courier Messenger unless the national competition paid SANFL clubs more for developing AFL players, clubs such as Sturt could be lost. This is the headline quote by Sturt CEO Matt Benson on the article in the following link


This is a good article and underpins a problem for SANFL Clubs. The AFL is a money making machine these days with the TV rights etc. The problem is, in my view the players have finally reached the point where they are getting too much money. The amount they are earning is being identified as a reason the players are having trouble with drugs, gambling and so on. That is another storey however.

If the AFL is going to be such a money earner then the responsiblity is their’s to look after the sport nationally. Make sure the grass roots is healthy so the future of the sport is guaranteed. The SANFL did a marvellous job of this in the past in this state but they no longer have the financial muscle to do this.

Matt Benson is correct. The AFL must look at ways that grass roots footy can not only survive but prosper. He is also right that Sturt have made mistakes in the past and they are paying for them. Can they survive; only time can tell?

Back to the Unley Oval Master Plan. Should Sturt’s financial situation prevent this plan going on.


The Master Plan is about developing this precinct for the future use of the Unley Community and that includes all users of the ground, from the Mum pushing a pram with her new born baby, to kids playing in a playground or on the Oval itself, to family picnics, to joggers and fitness buffs, to organised community activities, to sporting clubs.

Sturt is one of the clubs, indeed currently the major club user of the precinct.

The master plan needs to be developed so that it is flexible, something can accommodate Sturt no longer being with us (God forbid) and another sporting club taking it’s place (and that need not be football (again God forbid from my point of view).

Good luck Sturt FC. may you survive and become healthy again.

As one elected member I am looking to the first draft of the Master Plan taking into account all wishes from all who have contributed to the community consultation. A Plan with the flexibility to accommodate Sturt FC should they be with us in 15 to 20 years time. A Plan that can accommodate whoever might take their place if they are not.

Let us remember one thing with the Master Plan. it is about the future – 15 to 20 years from now. It has to be able to accommodate changes in who can use it because no-one can predict the fate of the organised activities currently using it.