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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Year brings highs and lows in the sporting arena

Benalla Ensign journalist Monique Freer looks back at the big sport stories from 2013.

MONIQUE FREER December 26, 2013 4:10am

Opposition: Tatong Football Netball Club president Felicity Munro, Goorambat club president Mark Skilbeck, Swanpool club vice-president Phil Dennis and Benalla Rural City councillor Justin King took a stand against the OKFNL’s preliminary recommendations for the clubs to merge.


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Benalla Ensign journalist Monique Freer looks back at the big sport stories from 2013.

Ovens and King Football Netball League saga

There is no other word for what happened in the OKFNL this year, it was a saga.

It began when the AFL North East Border handed down recommendations following its review in July, forecasting no more than 12 clubs in the competition in 2014 and a consolidation of the Benalla teams.

Goorambat, Tatong and Swanpool football netball teams all came under fire, and a Benalla Rural City councillor formed a lobby group to support the clubs.

However, following a meeting with the AFL North East Border in September the clubs were given the ultimatum to opt in to a three-club merge or fold.

Goorambat chose to merge while Tatong and Swanpool appealed the decision, as the proposed merge was not considered equal.

The story still continues, as Tatong and Swanpool face an uncertain sporting future.

This story involved more than just footballers and netballers; it was intrinsically linked with small communities and the viability of the district towns.John Martiniello inducted into Hall of Fame

Martiniello is a name synonymous with Benalla football, and this was proven in July when John ‘Shorty’ Martiniello was inducted into the Ovens and Murray Football League Hall of Fame.

Shorty travelled to Albury with his wife Vicky and children Will, James, Richard and Hayley to attend the ceremony, which he said was a humbling experience.

Shorty won six club best and fairest awards between 1982 and 1997, when the Benalla Demons left the Ovens and Murray league for Goulburn Valley Football League.

He is the third Benalla Saints player to be inducted into the hall of fame, joining Emmy DeFazio and Neil Hanlon.

Luke Morgan wins league best and fairest

In his first year at the helm, Benalla Saints playing coach Luke Morgan took top honours in the Goulburn Valley Football League when he won the Morrison Medal in September.

Morgan won the best and fairest award with a near-record 35 votes, 19 votes ahead of the runners-up.

However, after a fantastic season from wooden spoon to finals favourites, the Saints could not complete the fairytale and were knocked out of the finals in straight sets.

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