Netball and football to join as one in Wimmera

SET TO JOIN: Mary Lou Boatman said the merger of the two is a real possibility. Picture: Adam Hill
SET TO JOIN: Mary Lou Boatman said the merger of the two is a real possibility. Picture: Adam Hill

A working group will be established early in 2018 to develop plans to bring the Wimmera Football League and the Wimmera Netball Association together as one organisation.

The planned group follows on from all eight Wimmera league clubs indicating they would support the move.

Wimmera Football League commissioner Mary-Lou boatman spent last season having informal conversations with club representatives to gauge opinions on the amalgamation.

She said there was a consensus across all the clubs that they would like to further investigate the idea of coming together more.

“The conversations were all very informal though as I was asking presidents and secretaries how they felt about the idea,” she said.

“Some of the clubs wanted more of an idea about what the structure would look like but really we aren’t at that stage yet.

“It was more about canvassing whether there was an actual interest in investigating it further.”

Boatman said she spoke to Wimmera Netball Association president Pauline Butler on Monday night.

“I’ll be going to their first meeting in February next year and I’ll speak to all of the netball representative again,” she said.

“From there we’ll look to get the working party together and at that point I’ll start asking people who are interested to come together.”

The working party will be made of people from the football league and netball associations.

It will look at some of the existing structures at other leagues and will likely be made up of between 10 and 20 people.

“Within the Wimmera-Mallee there are already leagues which are netball and football,” Boatman said. “Golden Rivers Football League is going through the process at the moment so we’ll talk to them.

“We’ll also talk to Horsham district as well because they’ve not long gone football netball.”

Boatman said there will changes within the structure and personnel were inevitable with any amalgamation.

“It think the main changes will be for the netball association so I want them to have some buy in so that they are happy with the structure we eventually come up with,” she said.

“The football has already moved away from a delegate system so that will probably be the biggest change for the netballers.

“All the club’s in the Wimmera league are football netball clubs,” Boatman said.

“It seems impractical and silly to me that the clubs are dealing with two different organisations at the top level.

“The clubs all thought it was a logical process to move towards one commission to oversee football and netball.

“There is still a lot of water to under the bridge yet but we’ve made a start and at least everybody is in agreeance that this would be a far more efficient approach.”