East heading North?

Making moves: Morwell East members have voted in favour of a move to the North Gippsland Football-Netball League. Photograph Tom Hayes





THE wheels are in motion for Morwell East’s proposed move to the North Gippsland Football-Netball League, following a successful vote from members.

Last Monday (August 21) the club confirmed that their member vote, on. Thursday, August 17,to change leagues from Mid Gippsland to North Gippsland was successful.

Needing at least 75 per cent of members to be on board, the vote had 90 per cent of people in favour.

Morwell East conducted the same vote at the end of the 2022 season, still needing 75 per cent in favour, only receiving 71 per cent in favour.

Now everything is in the hands of the North Gippsland FNL, who will decide if Morwell East is to join the league for the 2024 season.

“We’ve notified Mid Gippsland that we’re exploring options to move to North Gippsland, and we’ve notified North Gippsland that we see our long-term future in the North Gippsland Football-Netball League,” Morwell East FNC president Colin King said.

“We’re just waiting to hear back from North Gippsland in regard to what they’ll do next, so I’ll presume we’ll sit down and explain our case with all the executives and presidents of the existing clubs in North Gippy.”

King hopes that the decision will be clear sooner rather than later, to avoid uncertainty in the off season.

Several factors, which include the longevity of the football-netball club, where recognised when wanting to change leagues.

“There’s clubs that have got football teams in all grades, netball teams in all grades, umpires in all grades, it would be a positive thing for us,” King said.

“Since the Alberton League clubs come in (to Mid Gippsland), geographically it has changed, and I think the most important thing is, for the long-term future of the club, is playing teams geographically close to you.

“So, we’d have four games within 20 minutes; Churchill, Yallourn (Yallourn) North, TTU (Traralgon Tyers United) and Glengarry, on top of your home games that’s 13 games within 20 minutes.

“The furthest trip used to be 30 minutes up to Mirboo North in Mid Gippy, and now there is three trips over an hour and three just under an hour, I think geographically it’s gonna be easier to recruit players up and down the highway, rather than over the hills.”

The way that the Mid Gippsland FNL has changed has shifted Morwell East’s thoughts on where its future stands.

One thing that potentially could face as a negative for Morwell East is the fact that they didn’t field a thirds side in 2023, but King hopes a move to the North Gippsland FNL could help build development.

“One of our problems is, the clubs we compete with to get thirds teams, they’re all based in North Gippsland,” King said.

“In Mid Gippsland, through no one’s fault, there’s only six (thirds) teams, and the thirds might play at a different ground to their reserves and seniors, so it’s not a big selling point when you’re trying to recruit.”

Morwell East are open to seeing new thirds players joining the club, and with a potential move to the North Gippsland FNL, there is no better chance to do so now considering the buzz around the club.

Seeing as last year’s vote to move to the North Gippsland FNL was unsuccessful, this outcome is viewed as a step in the right direction.

“In the end, it’s a reflection of what the members want, so obviously a vast majority – 90 per cent – think it’s the right thing for the future of the club,” King said.

Morwell East now await word from the North Gippsland FNL board for the next steps in the process.

The Hawks played finals in the MGFNL seniors this season, while its A Grade are still in finals.