Alpine Saints' future is strong

MYRTLEFORD president Bill O’Donohue has crushed talk the club’s future is in crisis after a “constructive” meeting this week.

O’Donohue said he was confident the Alpine Saints could remain competitive in the Ovens and Murray, despite a recent division between the league’s top and bottom clubs.

Ovens and Murray heavyhitters Graeme Patterson and Aaron McGlynn joined the likes of AFL North East-Border region manager John O’Donohue at a meeting with about 50 Myrtleford members, supporters and officials on Tuesday.

“It went really well,” Bill O’Donohue said.

“We should have more of them.

“Every club does it and they are really constructive.”

O’Donohue, who is standing down at the end of this year, said the Alpine Saints had been a victim of their own success in developing players.

Jack Crisp (Brisbane Lions), Frazer Dale (Carlton) and Matt Taberner (Fremantle) have all been drafted into the AFL in recent years, while Hugh Wales and Jake Sharp are playing in the VFL.

Myrtleford also has five players on the Murray Bushrangers’ list this season.

“People forget that,” O’Donohue said. 

“It’s great for those kids to play at those levels but if you put all those guys back in, all of a sudden we are sitting pretty.”

O’Donohue said Tuesday’s meeting covered several topics and was more about being transparent with those interested in the club’s future.

“It was just about getting our members in there and throwing up a few ideas about how we can improve,” he said.

“We’ve got a new board coming and people want to know where things are going.”

A “progress group” was established and will work until the club’s end of year annual meeting on things such as recruiting and marketing strategies.

The group will produce a written report, including a budget for next year that will be published to members prior to the AGM.

The Alpine Saints haven’t played finals since back-to-back grand finals in 2005-06, which coincided with the end of the tobacco industry and robbed the club of an estimated $80,000 in annual income.