Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Country Championships off Picola District's agenda

Picola District Football League will focus on a new interleague competition proposal and won't play in the AFL Victoria Country Championships next year.

DAMEN FRANCIS December 5, 2013 4:05am

Picola District Football League will not be part of the AFL Victoria Country Championships next year.

The league will instead focus on a proposal being put together by AFL North East Border Commission, for a separate interleague competition played between nearby leagues.

Tallangatta and Ovens and King football leagues have also withdrawn from the country championships to focus on what PDFL president Shane Railton said was a more localised concept, which could also include leagues from the Riverina region.

‘‘A proposal is being put together and was floated primarily by AFL north east and I think there is merit to go with a more localised competition,’’ Railton said.

‘‘Both our south-east and north-west divisions will be involved, with another six leagues to be part of it.

‘‘Both our divisions had the misfortune of having to travel last year, even if the south-east only had to go to Tatura, despite both having won the year before.

‘‘Our north-west division won in (2012) then dropped (six) rankings the following year. These decisions are out of our control and this way there is less travel involved.’’

Kyabram District Football League was invited to join the proposed competition and was not included in the initial country championships draw that was released this week.

However, Martin Gleeson, region general manager for the AFL Goulburn Murray Commission, which administers the KDFL, said the league had declined the invitation in favour of remaining part of the state rankings system.

‘‘There’s a proposal being put forward for a number of the local leagues to play in their own round-robin competition,’’ Gleeson said.

‘‘The KDL was invited into that as well, but the executive decided they would rather play in the championship, so there’s a process going on now to put them in that competition.

‘‘We’re hoping that will be sorted out shortly.’’

Meanwhile, interleague football will return to Shepparton next year.

The Goulburn Valley Football League will launch its campaign to return to the top of the AFL Victoria Country Championships standings with a third-place playoff against Ballarat Football League at Deakin Reserve on May 24.

‘‘Travelling is very expensive, so we’re happy to host Ballarat here,’’ GVFL board member Freddo McMahon said.

‘‘We played them here (in 2011) in a night game and we had a good crowd. It will be a day game this time, but hopefully fans from outer clubs will come and have a look as well.’’

Murray Football League will have a chance to exorcise some demons, when it returns to the scene of its embarrassing 100-point defeat last year.

Murray will be on the road against Sunraysia Football League and MFL general manager Dale Norman was confident of an improved showing.

‘‘It was a very ordinary performance two years ago, but we’ve put a process in place now and we look forward to the challenge,’’ Norman said.

Norman said interleague coaches would be confirmed next week.

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