Wonthaggi Power eyes move to new league

By Mitch Guy

THE Wonthaggi Power Football Netball Club is considering a potential move to new West Gippsland Football Netball League.
Following the release of AFL Gippsland’s Draft Recommendations recently, the Power’s committee has decided to hold a Special General Meeting on Sunday, March 6 for members to vote to stay in the Gippsland League or request a move to the West Gippsland League in 2017.
If Wonthaggi Power was to join the West Gippsland League under the current recommendations, it would face Dalyston, Kilcunda-Bass, Korumburra-Bena, Phillip Island, Bunyip, Cora Lynn, Garfield, Koo Wee Rup and Nar Nar Goon to form a strong 10-team competition.
The special resolution must be passed by three quarters of the members who are present at the Special General Meeting (in person or by proxy).
The Power’s committee unanimously believes that a change of league is in the best interests of all members.
Wonthaggi FNC president Brett Tessari said the club is leaving its options open.
“If we don’t advertise now the option to do it, we miss the chance to look into it,” he said.
“We love it in the Gippsland League but it’s very hard to be sustainable in the Gippsland League with our juniors.
“This is the perfect opportunity now to get all members together, have a chat and get everyone’s views on making the club sustainable.
“I want to stress that all we’re doing at this stage is having discussions amongst our members and ourselves to look at all options.”
Tessari said a switch to the new league would help with travel.
“With so many of our young players being at university in Melbourne or working in the city, they’re travelling back from that way anyway, so it makes sense to look at a league that’s heading in the same direction rather than the other direction,” he said.
If Power’s members vote for a change, the club must submit a submission to the AFL Gippsland Review Committee by March 11.
A potential move by the Power throws up a conundrum for the review committee, chaired by AFL Gippsland Region General Manager, Travis Switzer.
Switzer said now the league structures have been released, clubs have a good chance to see where they’re at.
“Part of a submission for clubs to move is that they have to have good evidence,” he said.
“The process is that then it gets considered along with other submissions.
“We have to look at it on a case-by-case basis and then look at the overall structures of the region – we can’t leave leagues with seven clubs.”
Switzer said the review committee is keen to see a 10-team major league in the Gippsland region.
“One of the things that’s really important is that kids have to have local options to play the best footy they can play,” he said.
“Bairnsdale are a good example of that; with no major league club they’d have to travel a long way to play major league footy.
“Given Wonthaggi has had reasonable success in the major league, we took that into account as well (during the review process).
“The club goes back to members after they’ve seen what’s been put out and they can come back to us. If the club requests change it doesn’t mean they’ll get to go, but we’ll have to consider it along with submissions from other clubs.”
According to Switzer, responses to the review recommendations have seen all clubs happy to go to the new West Gippsland League.
“So far anecdotally they’re happy to go, but we haven’t had submissions from any of those clubs,” he said.
“They’ve got until March 11; if some of those clubs aren’t happy, we expect to hear from them but anecdotally, they’ve all been positive.
“It’s been pretty positive. Nyora have been pretty open about (the changes), but we’ve got to do more work to find a solution for Nyora.
“From 90 per cent of the clubs at this stage, the feedback has been pretty positive; they have been happy where they’ve been put and we’ve just got to work with them.”