New group targets Hume

THE newly appointed North East Commission will step up talks in the new year about bringing the Hume Football League under its control.

The Hume league presently falls under the direction of AFL NSW-ACT.

But most of its 14 clubs have strong ties to Albury-Wodonga, which would form a large part of the Victorian-based commission’s responsibilities.

The inaugural commission is locked into place with former Murray Bushrangers general manager John Byrne at the helm.

Other commissioners are Phil Nolan, Stephen Clarke, David Koschitzke, Geoff Lowcock, Mark Florence, Jason Dudenas and Kath Evans.

Nolan, Clarke, Koschitzke and Dudenas have recent administrative experience within the Ovens and Murray Football-Netball League.

Lowcock is former multiple premiership coach of Tallangatta and District league club Mitta United.

The North East commission was one of eight formed across the state in the wash-up of the AFL review into country football.

The Hume league has previously discussed having its administration duties performed by the O and M league.

AFL Victoria chief operating officer Steve Reaper confirmed discussions had started within the commission about the Hume league.

“We all like to think we are all playing the one game and don’t need to have boundaries,” Reaper said.

“The discussions we have had with the NSW guys to this point have been pretty fruitful.”

The Hume league has one of the highest number of player registrations of any league in NSW.

Reaper said another pressing matter for the commission would be the appointment of the regional general manager and additional development staff.

The regional general manager position will be advertised early in the new year.

Former VCFL area manager John O’Donohue has helped set up the commission and is considered a near certainty to take on the role.

In his former role, O’Donohue was responsible for the North-East and Goulburn-Murray regions.

Under the new structure the regional general manager will be solely in charge of the North East including the O and M, Tallangatta, Ovens and King, Upper Murray and junior competitions in Albury-Wodonga and Wangaratta.

The additional development staff will complement the work already being done by Jeff Chandler and Darren Ogier.

Reaper said the commission’s full impact won’t be felt until the 2014 season.

However, it needs to approve the Albury-Wodonga Junior Football League’s recent age group changes.