Netball, football unite

THE Golden Rivers football and netball competitions will operate under the one organisation from next season.

Clubs from both leagues voted last week to approve the Becoming One Golden Rivers Football Netball League model, which would see both competitions unite.

Seven of the nine netball clubs supported the proposal when it was put to a vote at last Monday's Golden Rivers Netball League annual meeting, with the same seven of the nine football clubs doing likewise at last Wednesday's Golden Rivers Football League annual meeting.

Golden Rivers Football League board member and long-time netballer, Angela Hird said that the two dissenting clubs were not opposed to amalgamation, but there was a view that all club football and netball clubs should be amalgamated first and that there should be more consultation.

The new GRFNL entity will be officially launched in February.

Current GRFL chairman, Daryl Billing and board member, Kellie Crellin have decided not to nominate for a position on the new board.

Nominations for board positions close at the end of January. Five current board members - Greg Bear, Andrew Gilchrist, Zoe Ferrier, Angela Hird and Scott McNeil - are willing to continue. Murrabit's Ross Stanton will assume a position on the board after being elected netball manager on Monday night.

The amalgamation decision ends four years of planning, with a variety of issues – ranging from the re-entry into the AFL Victoria Community Championships, junior football numbers, implementation of the player points system for footballers and the formation of AFL Central Rivers Umpires – delaying the proposal.

A forum earlier this year enabled football and netball clubs to identify what they value the most about their respective competitions, what opportunities to improve exist and what they want the competition to look like in the future.

All feedback – as well as consultation with regional sports assemblies, Netball Victoria, AFL Victoria and leagues that have already amalgamated their football and netball competitions – helped develop a statement of purpose that will provide a foundation for the new league's operations.

The decision means that both member leagues within the AFL Central Murray area will operate as joint football-netball competitions.

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