THIS Saturday’s grand final between Fish Creek and Toora could be the last game played in the Alberton Football
Netball League as we now know it.
The season was difficult for the seven clubs who now make up the AFNL and with strong rumours of the possibility
of DWWWW not being certain starters next season, the other clubs and the league executive have been canvassing
all options open to them.
It appears certain that if the league is left with only six clubs, then individual clubs, or the league as a whole will
The Ellinbank & District Football League which comprises Buln Buln, Catani, Ellinbank, Lang Lang, Longwarry,
Nerrim-Nerrim South, Nilma Darmin, Nyora, Poowong and Warragul Industrials has been mentioned as a possible fit.
Travel times to all those clubs would be around one and a half hours, with the road through Korumburra the most
direct option to most grounds.
The Mid Gippsland Football League is another option, which comprises Boolara, Hill End, Mirboo North, Morwell
East, Newborough, Thropdale, Trafalgar, Yarragon, Yallourn-Yallourn North and Yinnar. These grounds are around
one hour travel as well. Stony Creek has indicated they would prefer to go in this direction.
All local clubs do most of their recruiting from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, so the Ellinbank & District Football
League would seem the better option in this regard.
Netball and junior football would also need to be addressed as age groups are different to the local set up.
AFNL President Barry Stride told The Mirror that all options are open with early discussions taking place re a
merger of either of the two leagues. He stressed that it would not be a take over of the AFNL.
“We need all our local clubs to let us know very quickly as to what they want us to do, so we can get things moving
early. The other leagues might decide they don’t want all of us, or maybe they might take two or three clubs? We
won’t know until we all sit down and discuss where everyone is at.”
AFL Gippsland General Manager Travis Switzer told The Mirror that AFL Gippsland has been in discussion with all
district leagues regarding the 2018 season and he said there had been some good discussions going on. He said
they are there to help all clubs and leagues and it is really up to the individual clubs to work out what the best option
is for their own future.
The Foster Football Club met last Thursday night to discuss the situation and there seems to be a lot more
questions than answers at this point of time.
They will go along with the AFNL and explore what options are there.
The Mirror contacted a number of clubs in the new West Gippsland Football League and enquired if any of those
teams would consider returning to the AFNL. The answers was no on all accounts.
If a merger between two of our neighbouring leagues cannot be organised, then the only other option is to stay as
we are and hope the Allies are back again next year. It seems certain that some of our local clubs will not want to
play in a six or seven team competition again; but they might not be able to go individually to another league by
Saturday’s grand final at Meeniyan could well be the last as we know it, which would be a sad day for football!