CHANGES could be on the horizon for football and netball in the region after the AFL Wimmera-Mallee released draft recommendations from its future directions report.
The report has been in the works since November, looking into the longevity of the sports in the region. Club officials and AFL Wimmera-Mallee commissioners discussed possible changes at Monday night’s meeting at Federation University in Horsham.
AFL Wimmera-Mallee region manager Bruce Petering said two words summed up the landscape football and netball clubs faced – scarcity and complexity.
“When we talk about scarcity it’s about the people,” he said.
“Complexity is the things we do within our sport. We do a lot of things and expect a lot of a lot of people. We don’t have the people to maintain that. The north-west population decline is the worst in the state. It is the scarcest of any region in Victoria.”
The biggest proposed change was a shake-up of governance.
The report suggests to: “Merge the governance of AFL Wimmera-Mallee, Horsham District Football Netball League and Wimmera Football League into one entity.”
The report recommends an even representation from the three boards into one new entity. Horsham District league chairman Graeme King and Wimmera league president Trevor Albrecht supported the principle.
Mr King said: “We are slightly confused as to how it would all work but we are happy looking at it – it has a lot of positives. We need to evolve and change and that includes the administration.”
Mr Albrecht said: “We need to bring things into a workable regime and we can’t just think about ourselves, we need to think about what is best for the region.”
Other recommendations included methods to increase junior participation, a region-wide club audit to take place before 2019 to bridge the gap between some clubs, ways the commission could assist clubs with administration and a regional training base in Horsham.
Harrow-Balmoral president Rosemary Langley said the report raised questions.
“It’s a working process and it’s more discussion, which is a good thing,” she said.
“We might not agree with all the things in the report but for the benefit of all of us we need to look at this.”
Clubs have five weeks to analyse the report and provide feedback to the commission before the final recommendations are handed out.