Morwell East will have to wait

Staying for now: Morwell East will remain in the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League for season 2024, after their application to join North Gippsland failed to reach the necessary quota from member clubs. File photograph





SOME say third time is a charm.

That might have to be the case for the Morwell East Football-Netball Club, after their bid to join the North Gippsland Football-Netball League was rejected for the second consecutive year.

At the end of the 2022 season, the Hawks stumbled at the first hurdle in an attempt to switch leagues, with the member vote falling short of the 75 per cent requirement.

Once again at the conclusion of the 2023 season, Morwell East tried again, this time passing the member vote with flying colours, with 90 per cent in favour.

All that was needed was for eight of the 11 NGFNL teams to be on board with the decision, but once again, the Hawks fell agonisingly short.

Traralgon Tyers United, Heyfield, Yallourn Yallourn North, Churchill, Yarram, Sale City and Cowwarr Football-Netball Clubs all voted in favour of allowing Morwell East to become the NGFNL’s 12th team.

But Woodside, Rosedale, Glengarry and Gormandale Football-Netball Clubs all objected to the move.

With time ticking, Morwell East were unable to change the minds of any football-netball clubs before the end of October, meaning they would remain in the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League once again.

In a statement, MEFNC shared its thoughts on the matter.

“Morwell East Football-Netball Club are really disappointed not to get into the North Gippsland Football-Netball League for season 2024,” it said.

“We strongly believe it is clearly the best place for our club to prosper long-term.

“We will attempt to meet and work with Gormandale, Rosedale, Woodside and Glengarry to alleviate the concerns they have about us joining the league.

“We think the closer the clubs geographically you play against, the better it is for both clubs, as more opposition supporters can travel to closer games, meaning bigger gates, better bar sales and better canteen sales.

“We thank all the clubs and the NGFNL Board for allowing us to explain our position and we will re-apply to join for season 2025.”

North Gippsland FNL President David Kyle said while the league would have welcomed Morwell East joining, it was ultimately up to member clubs to decide.

“The role of the NGFNL Board was to evaluate the merits of the MEFNC’s request to join the NGFNL in 2024 and put our conclusion and recommendation to the members of the NGFNL,” Kyle said.

“As president of the NGFNL for more than 10 years I have always viewed the role of administrators, the current day custodians of games we oversee, to make decisions which enabled and supported the growth and development of the codes we administer.

“It was therefore disappointing that several NGFNL clubs did not support the boards’ favourable recommendation, nor vision contained within the MEFNC application.

“I think an opportunity has been missed in our local region despite some opposing views.

“I am hopeful that moving forward league administrators can strategise and collaborate, making decisions which are aligned to the strategic vision of community sport in Gippsland for the greater good of all and sundry rather than any personal or club agenda.”