By Tara Murray
AFL Goldfields regional general manager Rod Ward has expressed his disappointment at the Sunbury Kangaroos decision to look to leave the Riddell District Football Netball League.
Kangaroos’ members voted on Monday night to make the move to the Essendon District Football League next season. Kangaroos members voted 96-3 in favour of the move.
Ward said while he was disappointed with the decision, it was what he expected.
“The Sunbury Kangaroos members have been steered down this path,” he said.
“It’s driven by the leadership having not shown commitment to netball.
“We don’t shy away from the fact that we put equal emphasise on netball and football.
“The Sunbury Kangaroos has not shown the same commitment to growing netball as they have to football.
“The junior netball has been successful and it begs the question why the junior players don’t want to play there.”
Ward said there was an RDFNL board meeting scheduled in the coming weeks, where the board members would vote on whether to accept or reject the proposed move.
Club presidents will also vote on whether they support the move ahead of the board meeting. AFL Victoria will make the final decision if the RDFNL board opposes the move and the kangaroos appeal.
The Kangaroos are the third club in the last five years to look to leave the competition.
Broadford unsuccessfully looked to move to the Kyabram District Football League in 2014.
Kilmore joined the Northern Football League 12 months later. AFL Victoria made the final decision after RDFNL clubs voted against the move.
Broadford was again considering moving ahead of next season if the Kyabram and District Football League was restructured, but the restructure isn’t going ahead.
Ward said all the clubs looking to leave the competition had been for different reasons.
“Broadford has chosen to stay which we’re thrilled about,” he said.
“Kyabram may have created a south and north league, and if there was a south league geographically it would have been a good fit for Broadford.
“We’re not escaping that there is a gap between the bottom and top teams.
“We’re hoping equliastion will help address this disparity.”
Ward said they expected the RDFNL to grow in the next few years, with junior clubs Gisborne Giants and Eynesbury to start to field senior sides.
“We think the competition will get more senior clubs,” he said.
“We’re not concerned about the league’s future. We’re committed along with AFL Victoria to the future of the league.”
CLICK HERE to read by Sunbury Kangaroos president Allan Walters said on the club’s decision to move leagues.