At the end of last year AFL Gippsland put a submission to all clubs in the region about changing the set-up of the leagues, with Korumburra-Bena, Dalyston, Kilcunda-Bass and Phillip Island all going to the West Gippsland League which Korumburra-Bena thought was a move in the right direction for the club, players, netballers and members.
Then they changed their decision and left Korumburra-Bena in Alberton and moved Inverloch-Kongwak into West Gippsland after Korumburra-Bena had submitted we were happy to move leagues.
Geographically our club is a lot closer to the West Gippsland League and a shorter drive than a few of the other clubs going into the new league.
As a previous committee member for the old Korumburra-Bena football club and the new Korumburra-Bena Football Netball club, a life member and premiership player I am in disbelief of AFL Gippsland’s change to their decision – it is detrimental to the long term sustainability of our club.
It is common knowledge that due to dwindling numbers in the old Alberton League clubs are usually struggling for numbers in all the junior teams.
This would mean our Under 16 and Under 18 teams would get only a few games on 2017 and beyond.
Who would blame these kids to look elsewhere for them to get a full season of football?
Our juniors are extremely strong with over 85 young footballers in Under 10s, Under 12s and Under 14s which is a strong indication for our future.
If left in the Alberton League our netballers would get little competition as they would be losing four of the stronger clubs to West Gippsland League.
At present they win by a large amount so these girls need a challenge of playing in a strong league.
West Gippsland League would provide that for our Under 16 and Under 18 teams.
If left in Alberton, why wouldn’t they look for that challenge elsewhere?
Nearly all football leagues now have netball in them, but obviously that wasn’t a consideration by AFL Gippsland when the decision was made.
Our historical ties are with the old Bass Valley and West Gippsland clubs and for us to stay in the Alberton League and the old Bass Valley sides move to the newly formed West Gippsland League is totally wrong.
The old Alberton clubs have maintained that our town is far too big for them to compete with and that we should not be in their league due to that reason.
Now when it’s convenient for them, the Alberton League want us to stay, a touch hypocritical don’t you think?
Sure we have had a couple of tough years on the footy field but what club doesn’t.
Over a long period of time we have been very successful and a very strong and proud club, and we will be again in the new West Gippsland League.
All the members and players I have spoken to since the AFL put the submission to all the clubs are of full support of the move to the West Gippsland League.
We have been re-building over the last couple of seasons, we have not engaged in cheque book football, we have spent money on enhancing our facilities with the installation of new lights, we have re-branded to the “Giants”, of which much of the promised funding was not delivered on.
So needless to say we have had some difficult years. We are on the rebound, and the character demonstrated by the Korumburra-Bena community and the efforts of the committee and members has been commendable in what have been difficult times.
An appeal has been submitted to the AFL Gippsland League and should it be successful the club and town will be in full support of the Korumburra-Bena Giants next season on the West Gippsland Football Netball League.
Warren Burgess, Korumburra