By LIAM DURKIN
MORWELL East Football-Netball Club met last Thursday night (June 9) to discuss the long-term direction of the club.
While most local football and netball followers were quick to make assertions, the meeting did not automatically mean the Hawks were seeking a move out of the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League.
The meeting instead wished to garner a consen- sus view from members about what would best serve Morwell East moving forward.
Members were provided with a questionnaire, information from which will be used by the club in formalising a follow-up meeting in due course.
Morwell East FNC president Colin King stressed the club was “not anti-Mid Gippsland”, but having now got a taste for the new MGFNL after two years, said the club needed to take another look at its options.
King cited the “South Gippsland focus” of the new MGFNL, taking in six previous Alberton Football-Netball League clubs, as a reason the Hawks had decided to call the whole club meeting.
Inevitably, a whole club meeting involving Morwell East meant the words ‘North Gippsland
Football-Netball League’ were mentioned in the same sentence.
This is not the first time talk of Morwell East joining the NGFNL has done the rounds.
Rumours surrounded the Hawks moving to North Gippsland a couple of years ago, only for the club (to their credit) to get on the front foot and publicity squash and clarify the innuendo.
King said any such decision regarding Morwell East’s playing arrangements would be at the hands of a majority vote from members.
When asked about a possible Morwell East defection, MGFNL publicity officer Rob Popplestone said the league “wouldn’t want to lose them”, adding it would be “interesting to see how it plays out.”
From a travel viewpoint, the Hawks would have most North Gippsland clubs covered within a local corridor (Yallourn Yallourn North, Glengarry, TTU, Churchill, Rosedale, Sale City, Heyfield, Gormandale and Cowwarr), and would take the league up to 12 teams, thus eliminating the bye.
The bye would also be eliminated in Mid Gippsland, as the league would become a 12-team
Those at Morwell East with a soft spot for history however may find it hard to leave Mid Gippsland.
The Hawks have only ever competed in the MGFNL since their inception in 1973, and have
a number of life members currently serving on the Mid Gippsland board.
If Morwell East was to leave, they will join YYN and Trafalgar, who joined the Ellinbank and District league at the end of 2020, as former Mid Gippsland clubs since the ‘new Mid Gippy’
was established, as well as Yarragon, which left for the 2019 season.
Such an outcome could well call into question the amount of time, energy and research that has been undermined from AFL Gippsland in recommending the MGFNL and AFNL come together in the first place for what was sold as being for the ‘betterment’ of football in the local area.