THE Southern Mallee Giants could make the switch from the Horsham District Football and Netball League to the Wimmera Football League in time for the 2018 season.
AFL Wimmera-Mallee commissioners have had discussions with the Giants as part of the future directions review process of football and netball in the region.
AFL Wimmera-Mallee region general manager Bruce Petering said the idea for the Giants to move to the Wimmera league was based on ensuring football in the Wimmera was as competitive as possible.
“We put the question to the Giants and the other clubs as to how important it is to have a competitive environment in the region,” he said.
“The Giants haven’t lost a game in two years, so we asked if their best competitive fit is in the Wimmera league. The feeling was the best fit for them could be there.”
As part of its review process, AFL Wimmera-Mallee commissioners posed the opportunity to the Giants for them to compete in the Wimmera league.
Wimmera Football League and Giants representatives met with AFL Wimmera-Mallee commissioners on Friday to further discuss the move.
“Out of the meeting, we found there is a will from all parties to have a look at the Giants entering the Wimmera league in 2018,” Mr Petering said.
“The first step is for the Giants to decide internally if that is the direction they want to follow.
“That has to happen urgently, within the next week.
“Then it’s a process of applying to be released from the district league, applying for membership into the Wimmera league, and then us as a commission ticking it off.”
Giants president Brad Moore said the discussions surrounding the future of football in the region were helpful.
“It was a good conversation we had with the Wimmera board and the commissioners,” he said.
“We were quite happy with what they had to offer in terms of helping us out with some of our issues.”
There is a huge difference between the top and the bottom in the district league.Bruce Petering
“There is a huge difference between the top and the bottom in the district league,” Mr Petering said.
Mr Moore said despite the club having gone through extensive changes across the past few years, the positives of another big move could outweigh the negatives.
“In the Mallee Football League, we have seen and been through a lot of changes over the past 20 years in terms of football,” he said.
“We have seen a lot of teams merge and we’ve gone through a merger recently.
“At this stage every couple of years we seem to do something fresh.
“People might be getting sick of the changes, but for us to survive I think it’s something we need to take a look at.
“I think across the Wimmera and Mallee there’s going to be change every few years.”
Mr Moore said any decision on where the Giants would play this season would be made by the club’s committee members.
“We are going to have a committee meeting this week so we can let AFL Wimmera-Mallee know as quickly as possible,” he said.
“Quite a few supporters have expressed interest in moving because they want to see a bit more of a challenge for some of the players.”
With the fixtures already released for both leagues heading into this coming season, Mr Petering said any changes to the leagues would need to be finalised by the end of January.
“If it happens we would have to see it organised by the end of January, so other clubs have a reasonable time to get their heads around it,” he said.
“There is no reason it cannot be done by then.”
For us to survive I think it’s something we need to take a look at.Brad Moore
Mr Petering said the potential of having 11 teams in Horsham district and nine in the Wimmera league could provide better fixtures for clubs.
“It would be considered a much better draw for the Wimmera league,” he said.
“With their current structure clubs play two teams three times, so that’s not ideal.
“This would round off their 16-week competition where they only play every club twice.”
Any changes would also see more clubs across both leagues having byes.
“From my experience, people enjoy having byes in the season,” Mr Petering said.
“If this happens, we would have club byes instead of round byes.”