Western Park gets interleague nod

The Gippsland League has named Warragul’s Western Park as the setting for its AFL Victoria Community Championships showdown with Bendigo Football Netball League on 21 May.

After three unsuccessful trips to Bendigo in the past six years, the league’s senior representative football side now has the opportunity to turn the tables on its great rival on home turf.

The GL board considered all options before settling on Western Park.

“Bendigo had some concerns with travel, which eliminated a number of venues at the eastern end of our league straight off the bat,” league chair Greg Maidment said.

“Our southern venues were strongly considered, but with Alberton Football Netball League playing at Foster on the same day, we ruled out Leongatha and Wonthaggi to ensure both leagues aren’t trying to draw a crowd from the same area.

“Western Park is an excellent venue for players and spectators and we know the Warragul Football Netball Club will do a great job hosting.”

Senior football coach Steve Hazelman has assembled an experienced match committee, including Shane Fyfe, Leigh McDonald, Damien Kerr and Adrian Burgiel for what looms as the league’s best chance to scale the championship rankings for several years.

As it stands, Bendigo will only field a senior football team, but Maidment said various options were being considered to ensure the league’s elite netballers were able to participate.

“Being the premier league in Gippsland we place a high value on the championships and believe it is a great way to showcase Gippsland football and netball,” he said.

With the introduction of four metropolitan leagues in 2016, Bendigo and Gippsland presently sit 11th and 12th respectively on the championships rankings.