Tongala Football Club's new-look top raises hackles of opposition club president.By Zach Hubber
A new-look Tongala will take to the field this season after the Murray Football League executive approved the latest jumper design on Monday night.
The Blues will continue to play in their traditional navy blue and white colours and retain the famous ‘TFC’ on the front of the jumper.
But the design is not set in concrete as Numurkah and Finley, who both play in blue and white, have eight days to appeal the decision if they choose.
Numurkah president Paul Arnel said his club ‘‘certainly doesn’t support the decision’’, but that it had not yet decided to appeal.
‘‘We see it (the jumper issue) as being continuous and it doesn’t resolve the situation,’’ he said.
‘‘Numurkah is a founding member with 130 years of tradition and we’re looking to protect that tradition.
‘‘We believe when a club enters the league, they enter on the basis that they develop their own culture and their own tradition.’’
Tongala joined the league in 2006 with the same colours and nickname as Numurkah and Arnel said he would like to see both facets changed.
‘‘This has gone on for a number of years without resolution,’’ he said.
‘‘If someone enters, they should do so with different colours. That’s pretty straight forward I would think.’’
The decision to change from the old jumper was made last year after the MFL ruled that Tongala change its strip when Numurkah made an appeal.
Arnel said he found the situation ‘‘puzzling’’, saying Numurkah was exploring the next step and both clubs’ netball uniforms also clashed.
Finley will discuss and compare its jumper to Tongala’s at a club committee meeting tonight.
MFL general manager Dale Norman said the issue of a jumper clash dated back to when Tongala joined the league.
‘‘It was recommended at the time they joined to change their jumper,’’ he said.
‘‘After a couple of years they changed over to a new jumper with a light blue design and then some time in the interim they asked to switch back to the navy blue design.
‘‘They then played in light blue in away games and in finals and played in navy blue at home.’’
Tongala and the league have been working together to finalise an appropriate design for more than a year.
Tongala president Barry Nexhip said he liked the modern take on the design.
‘‘I think it’s good. I think the AFL has gone from their traditional strips and updated a bit and we’ve kept up with the times too,’’ he said.
The jumpers will be worn by the under 14s side this year, followed by the under 17s in 2014 and reserves and seniors at the start of 2015.
Nexhip said no clubs complained when Tongala first joined the league, saying Numurkah and Finley had their opportunity.
‘‘No-one put their hand up at the time and after six years it’s all of a sudden an issue,’’ he said.
‘‘We were asked to change to something like what the Adelaide Crows or Melbourne Demons wear, but if we did that we’d completely lose our identity. We put the jumper next to a Yarrawonga jumper (which is the same as Finley’s) and there’s no clash.’’
The president said there were other clashes in the league, citing Deniliquin and Cobram as one example and Rumbalara and Mulwala as another.
Before the jumper is fully adopted in two years, Tongala will revert to playing every game in the old navy blue strip, except when playing Numurkah or in finals, when the club will wear the light blue design.
Nexhip was hopeful Tongala would play in the old strip in practice games and in a potential heritage round in years to come.
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