MORWELL Pegasus and Trafalgar Victory soccer clubs are set to depart the Gippsland Soccer League central division, with approval pending for their entry into the south division for the 2013 season.
Unable to meet GSL requirements to field senior, reserve and youth sides, the second tier central sides have been forced to look outside the division for competition.
However, the move would mean increased travel time for players on a weekly basis, as south division stretches as far as Phillip Island and Welshpool.
Morwell Pegasus president Tom Thompson said while distance was an issue, the eight-team competition, which would increase to 10 with Trafalgar and Pegasus, would be a step up from the “Mickey Mouse” central second division, which will comprise four teams this year including new entry East Gippsland.
“We’d love to be able to be in a position to have that number of players available (to play first division GSL) but we haven’t and we can’t fulfil that commitment, so we’ve gone to the next best… and (the players) are all looking forward to it,” Thompson said.
“We would be better off in the GSL because the standard is better and we’d get better by playing a better standard, but also it would mean a lot less traveling for the club.
“(However) I’d be the first to admit that they’re not GSL first division standard; they’re not ready for that level.”
Another drawback of the move south is that it could stymie the already feeble flow of Pegasus players making the leap from GSL to its State League Two South-East sides.
“There is no way, with the current setup the way it is and the current group of players that are there now, that any of those boys… in my opinion would progress to the senior team, it’s a big, big jump,” Thompson said.
“I’d like to be proven wrong but I can’t see that happening in the short term.”
GSL football manager Paul Crowe saw the potential addition of the two clubs as a huge boost to the south division, as it would raise the league’s standards on field and in terms of facilities.
“They’ll… bring the option of playing night games which is a new thing for the south league,” Crowe said.
With 10 teams locked in for the central division this year, the league has the capacity to accommodate another two in future, with Trafalgar, Morwell and East Gippsland the front runners.
“They’re in the continuous building phase to get their teams up to the point where they can enter the central division and meet criteria,” Crowe said.
The south division does not require sides to enter teams in all senior grades.
Crowe said the clubs had engaged in extensive consultation with their players for their interim options, with most preferring a move to the south division.
The GSL south division meeting will be held on Wednesday to decide whether or not to accept the sides’ applications to join the league.