THE Picola and District Football-Netball League has moved swiftly to head off a potential exodus of clubs following AFL Goulburn-Murray’s decision to end a stalemate and cut it adrift late on Monday.
League officials have brokered an insurance partnership with Arthur J. Gallagher to provide the same level of cover to players as previous seasons, secured another deal with Interact Sport to provide online fixturing, results and registration capabilities and come up with a $4780 cheaper affiliation fee for clubs compared to what they paid to AFLGM last year.
The standalone move already has the support of reigning PDFNL premier Rennie and represents a significant blow to the AFL’s plan to have all leagues across the state _ including the Ovens and Murray _ signed up for administration services by the start of the 2019 season.
“It is only our 10th year in the Picola league and they have been very good to us,” Rennie treasurer Kevin Hanson said.
“We all understand local areas and after being through tough times, some times we need to stick fat.”
The PDFNL will also maintain a player point system this season and a suspended or de-registered player coming into the competition will still have to serve their penalty in the league.
Murray Bushrangers listed players from PDFNL clubs will need to switch to another league to play in the under-18 TAC Cup this season.
They include Tungamah’s Nick Irvine.
AFLGM moved on the PDFNL when it missed a final deadline to sign an affiliation agreement which had been sitting on the table since December last year.
PDFNL clubs will remain affiliated with AFLGM for another two weeks to ensure players are still covered by insurance.
AFLGM has made an offer to start up a new football and netball competition for PDFNL clubs.
AFL Victoria chief executive Steve Reaper said it had no option other than removing affiliation benefits to the PDNFL.
“AFL Victoria, in conjunction with AFLGM, has offered to meet with members of PDFNL on a number of occasions to discuss its reservations with affiliation, which they have repeatedly chosen not to pursue,” he said.
“AFL Victoria will continue to work with AFLGM in its support of clubs as it prepares to establish an alternative football-netball competition in season 2018.”
Former Yarrawonga and Ovens and Murray champ Craig Ednie coached Rennie to the PDFNL south-east flag last year after the club had claimed the wooden-spoon the previous year.
The Grasshoppers play Katandra, Katunga, Waaia, Dookie United, Tungamah, Shepparton East and Katamatite in the south-east division.
The north-west division is made up of Tocumwal, Berrigan, Deniliquin Rovers, Strathmerton, Jerilderie, Blighty, Mathoura, Yarroweyah and Picola United.