NORTH GIPPSLAND FL
By samuel darroch
YARRAM Football Club will enter the North Gippsland Football Netball League next season after its transfer refusal was overturned by AFL Victoria Country and the Victorian Country Football League board last week.
The Alberton Football League side last month failed to secure a majority vote from North Gippsland’s 10 member clubs, which were split 5-5 on the proposed move, and subsequently lodged an appeal with the governing body on 7 October.
The VCFL board considered submissions from all relevant parties in making its decision, which was handed down on Wednesday.
Yarram football operations manager Shane Richards said the Demons’ committee unanimously voted to pursue the appeal and was euphoric over the ruling.
“We’re very excited by the new prospect; we will be doing everything that we can to play by the standard that North Gippsland play by, which are very high, (and) we’re looking forward to it immensely,” Richards said.
“Our whole community basically shops, has their entertainment and does everything over in the Valley, nobody at all goes to Leongatha… yet we (had) to play football down that side of the country.
“We’re a Wellington Shire town and yet we play(ed) in the South Gippsland and Bass Valley shires, so we just think it was better for us to do that… it’s more beneficial for the town I believe… it just makes it easier for everybody.”
Richards said the basis of the switch was to secure a better future for Yarram’s juniors, who had to play up an age bracket in Alberton.
“The club’s 126 years old, we’re just looking at the future for the next hundred years for our juniors,” he said.
The club was also hopeful the move would entice past players now plying their skills in the Latrobe Valley back to the Demons
NGFNL president Gordon Bayley welcomed the introduction of Yarram as an 11th entity.
“The NGFNL board accepts and support the decision by AFL Vic and look forward to working with Yarram and integrating them into our competition for 2014,” he said.
“The board thinks their entry will enhance the North Gippsland brand and add further interest into our comp.”
One of the primary concerns among NGFNL member clubs was the potential impact of Yarram’s inclusion on nearby Woodside.
Woodside president Jenny Foat said while the club had enjoyed its position as the only club from the locality in North Gippsland, it accepted the decision and would focus on business as usual in 2014.