A new football league will be established in South Australia’s South East from next year, ahead of an expected restructure in 2025.
The new Limestone Coast Football and Netball League will initially include the six Western Border Football League clubs
Two clubs from neighbouring leagues will join the new competition in 2025
The SANFL says the change will lead to better sustainability for football and netball
The South East Football Working Group has endorsed changes to the sport, which include the existing Western Border Football League (WBFL) being replaced by the Limestone Coast Football Netball League from next year.
The new league will include the six existing WBFL clubs, leaving the existing structure with the Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Football League (KNTFL) and the Mid-South Eastern Football League (MSEFL) in place during 2024.
However, ahead of the 2025 season, one team from each of the KNTFL and the MSEFL will leave to join the new LCFNL.
It’s not yet decided which clubs will move in 2025.
A Millicent player celebrates during the 2023 Western Border Football League grand final.(ABC South East SA – Sam Bradbrook )
SANFL head of community football Shawn Ford said clubs would be approached in the next six to eight months about a move to the new league.
“It won’t be a matter of pointing the finger and saying you guys are moving over here and joining this comp,” he said.
“There will be a lot of negotiations which will take place, there will need to be incentives and it will be very similar conversation that took place with Penola recently.”
Fresh start needed
The announcement comes after an earlier recommendation to disband the WBFL and spread its teams between the KNTFL and MSEFL was abandoned following community backlash.
In addition, three clubs this year, Penola, Portland and Hamilton were all approached for moves to the WBFL, but ultimately decided against the change.
One club from the Mid-South Eastern Football League is expected to move to the new competition.(Facebook: Nangwarry Football Club)
The new LCFNL will have reformed junior grades for football and new governance structures.
Mr Ford said the consensus among league officials was that a fresh start was needed for the WBFL.
“The general feel within the entire region is there was a number of decisions made within the WBFL dating back decades now,” he said.
“And there was a real hangover effect … which was starting to impact local clubs and the league itself, so there was a real desire to start from scratch.”
The South East’s netball competitions, which mirror the region’s football leagues, are set to follow the lead of the football restructure.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC