GIPPSLAND League chair Terry Flynn has responded to Warragul Football Netball Club president Vin Walkinshaw’s comments regarding the club’s abandoned league swap.
In last Monday’s edition of the Latrobe Valley Express, Walkinshaw said the Gulls had received little support from the league and suggested clubs in central Gippsland received preferential treatment.
Flynn said that was not the case.
“Together with AFL Gippsland we have met the four clubs (Walkinshaw) mentioned as a group on two occasions,” Flynn said.
“We have documented the issues they raised and are working through long-term approaches to address their issues, which included junior structures, area agreements and recruiting.
“Along with AFL Gippsland, we have repeatedly offered to discuss Warragul’s issues with the club.
“The most recent opportunity we were given was two weeks ago when our board faced their members and fielded their questions.
“We felt it was a productive meeting and we would appreciate the opportunity for further dialogue to assist Warragul.”
Regarding the allocation of finals venues, Flynn said the current system was voted on by the clubs.
“Major finals have traditionally been played in the Latrobe Valley because the grounds are central, it is the major population centre and the complexes are the best set out to cater for large crowds,” Flynn said.
“They are also the venues of choice for North Gippsland, Mid Gippsland, Gippsland Power and AFL pre-season games.”
Flynn also said the revenue was shared between Gippsland League clubs.
“Three years ago the league chose a system to remove the financial advantage this gave the host clubs. The profits from the finals are now distributed equitably… (and) we operated a roster where catering was shared between the clubs that equalises the takings over a three-year cycle,” he said.
“This year Moe’s playing surface did not recover in time for the elimination final so we moved the game to Sale because the senior game featured Bairnsdale and Maffra.
“If the same opportunity had arisen in south or west Gippsland we would have given the same consideration.
“To the great credit of the council and club, Moe was in playable condition for the preliminary final so a move elsewhere was not a consideration.”
Flynn was glad the motion to leave the Gippsland League was not carried by Warragul’s members and said the board was committed to helping clubs in whatever way it could.
Walkinshaw has stressed previously that the above issues were not the only difficulties Warragul had taken into consideration throughout its leave application process.
Player retention, geography, junior development and variable shire support, have all been highlighted as problematic in the past, among a host of other concerns.
“It’s not just the money, it’s not just geographical, there’s just so many underlying issues that has pushed us,” Walkinshaw told The Express in August.