Modern take on interleague

Wait and see: A player such as Traralgon's Tye Hourigan could headline a slightly revamped version of interleague, with the Gippsland League set to play an 'East versus West' contest for players under the age of under 23. File photograph





THE Gippsland League has confirmed a return of the representative format to the league, giving it a facelift in the meantime.

Starting in 2023, the Gippsland League will feature an under-23 East versus West match.

Making up the ‘East’ team are players from Bairnsdale, Maffra, Sale, Traralgon and Morwell.

While on the ‘West’ team are the other five Gippsland League clubs; Moe, Warragul, Leongatha, Wonthaggi and Drouin.

The weekend will feature six games; three football and three netball.

The football will have the seniors, under 18s and under 16s on display, while the netball will exhibit A Grade, under 17s and under-15s.

The East versus West weekend is scheduled to go ahead during the bye round of May 20; in between Rounds 6 and 7.

This format comes about after talks with other leagues about reviving the interleague format failed.

Interleague has not returned to local footy since the COVID pandemic swept through the community, bringing country football to a grinding halt.

Gippsland League president, Andrew Livingstone, told the Weekly Times, “We wanted to play another major league, but we’re a little bit isolated where we are here.”

“We then came up with this concept and think it can be a really good way clubs can get together and engage.

“We think an under 23 state-wide carnival would work for that very reason… it would create a lot of interest.

“If it becomes a grounding from where a few players get picked up, then the AFL might help fund it.”

Based off last year’s Gippsland League 22-under-22 side, the proposed concept might prove to be a fairly even contest.

Twelve of the 22 selected would represent the ‘West’ team, while the remaining 10 players would filter to the ‘East’ side.

Thus, leaving an opportunity for another 22 young Gippsland League players to try and make a name for themselves under a narrower spotlight.

Traralgon’s Tye Hourigan is one to watch, and is still being closely watched by Melbourne Demons VFL equivalent – Casey Demons, despite being 21-years-old.

The ‘East’ side could be headlined by Morwell’s Tristen Waack, who was runner-up in the Gippsland League best and fairest as a 19-year-old, tied on votes with the eventual winner going into the last round.

Waack has recently trained with Hawthorn Hawks VFL equivalent, Box Hill Hawks.