New home door open

By Lauren Bordin

The footballing landscape in the region is starting to shift.

Kyabram District Football League is putting out an offer to clubs to join its ranks as soon as next season as part of its remodelling.

Proposed is a structure that would split the league into two equally weighted competitions under the same banner.

What will divide them is their junior teams, as the league aims to add to its development structure.

The thirds compromised of under-18s is likely to become an under-17 competition following recommendations in AFL Goulburn Murray’s junior football directions review.

The league is also aiming to add an under-14 football division as well as under-13 and under-11 netball grades.

Also on the table is a C-reserve netball grade to bring the league in line with the Murray and Picola District senior netball ranks.

Clubs able to field the additional teams will be grouped together in one conference, while those unable to will be grouped together.

Six to eight clubs from surrounding competitions are being sought to join the 14 that already compete in the KDFNL.

Teams will not be separated based on geographical location and the options of cross conference finals remains a possibility with the idea still in its early stages.

KDFNL board member Fraser Kerrins said current clubs were on board with what the league was aiming to put in place.

‘‘The clubs have known for a couple of weeks potentially where we’re heading,’’ Kerrins said.

‘‘They’ve raised it at different points and said ‘what are the plans and where are we heading and what are the outcomes of the junior review for us?’

‘‘We’ve endeavoured to provide an option to both to give them the ability to stay within a structure and give them something they can work towards.’’

After the drama surrounding Picola District Football League’s decision not to affiliate with the AFL resulted in Dookie United joining the KDFNL, Kerrins said United was the perfect test subject.

‘‘They came from the structures where they had those teams, so we needed that to open our eyes,’’ he said.

‘‘At the start of the year we didn’t really have the ability to accommodate what they wanted and now we can.

‘‘We’re not targeting anyone, but putting out an offer, we’re lucky enough that Dookie joined us.’’

League president Wayne Ryan said dividing up clubs would also allow it to please a common want.

‘‘Clubs like to play teams twice instead of one and a half times, so it’s about making that even,’’ Ryan said.

Shepparton East and Congupna are previous senior premiers of the KDFL in the Murray league, while previous member Yea moved to the Yarra Valley Mountain District league in 2008.

Kerrins said the league was trying to remain in touch with the needs of current players.

‘‘It’s about us growing as a league and as an organisation and about 20 years down the track, (we’re thinking about) what does country footy look like and what does KD footy look like?’’ he said.