Cup more than welcome in the Latrobe Valley

The Latrobe Valley has reaped the rewards for hosting the V/Line Cup, with AFL Victoria revealing the four-day showcase of junior talent injected $2.6 million into the regional economy.

More than 3300 people flocked to the event which was held at venues in Moe, Morwell and Traralgon last month and featured under 15 boys and under 17 girls’ competitions.

The carnival has been held in Latrobe City twice since moving to country Victoria in 2015 and has generated $4.9 million for the region in two seasons.

In a statement, Latrobe City Council chief executive Gary Van Driel said the community had benefited from AFL Victoria’s commitment to developing the sport in the regions.

“The V/Line Cup continues to provide a great opportunity for our young football players to see a major sporting event held locally,” Van Driel said.

“The economic and social benefits generated by this event for our local community has already proven, and will continue to prove, significant, with a $300,000 increase in the total economic impact to our community derived from the event this season compared to last year.”

The V/Line Cup has been an important part of the player talent development pathway, with 60 players drafted to the AFL in the past six years.

This year’s edition featured 14 boys and nine girls teams. AFL Gippsland region general manager Travis Switzer said he was excited to welcome the event back to the region next year.

“The announcement of the V/Line Cup returning to Latrobe City is a testament to the high level football facilities that we have at our disposal in Gippsland,” Switzer said.

“Latrobe City Council has done a great job as the host and most importantly the Gippsland football community has supported the event the past two years. I have no doubt we will run another quality event in 2017.

“These events do a lot to promote football in our region and it’s a real feather in the cap that AFL Victoria has the confidence to bring such a high level event back to Latrobe City.”

It is unclear whether the region will retain the event beyond 2017, with a new expression of interest process open to all regions across the state to begin early next year.