THE Ovens and Murray has changed its junior netball to a 17 and under competition next season.
Club delegates recently voted to lift the age group by a year to fall into line with Netball Victoria's representative structure.
It will also give youngsters another year in under-age netball after the 2020 season was lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In another development, the league will form a working party in February as a stepping stone to introducing under-15 netball.
Club delegates will be involved in the process which is expected to take between six and eight months.
Ovens and Murray deputy chair Kim Odewahn described the introduction of 17 and under netball as a huge step forward for the competition.
It's very, very hard when you are trying to pick representative teams and you don't have an actual gradeKim Odewahn
"It's very, very hard when you are trying to pick representative teams and you don't have an actual grade," Odewahn said.
"I think it's fabulous.
"We were the only league around who didn't have under-17s back in the day when we brought it in as five clubs wanted under-15s and five under-17s so we found middle ground.
"It's been a long time coming."
Ovens and Murray netball president Tamara Mathews will head up the under-15 working party with club delegates to vote on whether the positives outweigh the negatives.
"There is a lot to work to get through but we need to reassess again and I think a working party is the way to go," Odewahn said.
"It's another Netball Victoria age group and our league has grown.
"The working party will go through the pros and cons and we will take it from there."
Clubs were strongly in favour of forming a working party.
While AFL North East Border has previously opposed the Ovens and Murray's bid to introduce under-16 football, it has no jurisdiction over netball.