Central Murray and Golden Rivers Boards to Merge As New Era Begins
The Central Murray and Golden Rivers Football Netball Leagues will officially merge their boards come the end of the 2018 season, after both leagues met separately last night.
The merger didn't come without a struggle however, with the Golden Rivers board required to place a casting vote in favour of the merger after the clubs' representatives split their votes.
The merger was seen to be far more favourable for representatives within the Central Murray league, with the merger vote carried unanimously.
AFL Central Murray Commission Chair Neville Brady believes the immediate concerns of clubs within Golden Rivers have been addressed after a lengthy discussion last night in Barham.
"It (the discussion) was about losing identity, and that is a really good point that we need to be sensitive of when we go through this process," Brady said.
"When we explained that each league would have their own AGM's, own special general meetings, own by-laws which can only be changed through the league; once that was put on the table it took away some of the angst, or the fear that they were being taken over."
The lengthy process to establishing one board is now set to get underway, with the Central Murray Commission stating that all 20 positions will be vacant.
Three different constitutions across the two leagues will also be dissolved in preparation for a single, more AFL-centered constitution.
Discussions of where the leagues will head in the long-term future however managed to provide an interesting diversion, with Central Murray Football Netball League Chairman John Brookshaw stating he believed the leagues would eventually merge into a two-tier competition within 10 years.
Brady late last night said he sees it as a likely possibility.
"Volunteers and players will be more scarce as time goes by so the trends are not our friend here," Brady said.
"In 10 years time in the current trend, our area may only be able to sustain 14 teams."
Both leagues also accepted a guideline of minimum standards via vote, which will be enforced by the Central Murray Commission; teams must be able to field 80% of the minimum players required across both seniors and juniors squads, as well as having all club board positions filled.
Clubs across both leagues will begin completing club viability audits as of next week, in a bid to understand the weaknesses of each club and where the Commission can help.
Unsurprisingly, the proposed registration cap for juniors at a club was rejected, with not a single team in the Central Murray voting for that part of the recommendation.
The Central Murray Commission has instead suggested a RAC clearing-house, where juniors who aren't happy with their playing time can go to be distributed to clubs in need of players.