Murray second tier shaping up

By Cobram Courier

Murray Football League’s masterplan for a second division continues to take shape, with Kyabram District Football Netball League clubs Murchison-Toolamba and Dookie United signalling an intention to make the jump for next season.

But league operations manager Dale Norman conceded the acquisition of another team to complete a new six-team competition was unlikely for next year, with a 17-team league the more realistic alternative.

A potential fixture could have clubs from the second tier playing matches against the top tier, with the 12-team major competition to play a top-six finals, with the five-team district competition having finals for its top four.

At a Murray league meeting recently, club delegates met with the board to discuss the future of the league, Norman’s overarching plan the addition of a district competition his league would run.

The immigrant clubs were lured by the promise of an under-14 football division as well as C-reserve, 13-and-under and 11-and-under netball.

‘‘There’s still a fair bit to play out before we can confirm anything, but on Monday night we outlined to the existing Murray league clubs what has been happening the last four to five months,’’ Norman said.

‘‘In terms of those clubs new to the Murray Football League, we’ve been trying to form a district competition that would be administered by the MFL. That’s intended to ensure the sustainability of the clubs, maximise participation and competitiveness across all grades.’’

Still manufacturing a fixture which would cater to all parties’ needs, Norman said the joining KDFNL clubs should still form part of the MFL should it not get the numbers for a second tier.

‘‘That’s something we’ve been throwing around and nothing is set in stone,’’ he said.

‘‘Their preference would to just be in a district-type competition. But in saying that, if the opportunity is there where those sides play each other twice and the major league clubs maybe once, we’ll look at that.’’

Dookie United and Murchison-Toolamba join former Picola league clubs Katandra, Shepparton East and Tungamah as candidates for the second league, but Norman said the arrival of more clubs was unlikely.

‘‘Probably not for next year; we’ve had discussions with clubs and the opportunity to explain what we’re doing, and at this stage they have indicated they are staying where they are,’’ he said.

‘‘Hopefully from 2020 onwards there is a structure in place where clubs are able to join.’’