Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Morgan calls for major leagues to have bye

Benalla playing coach Luke Morgan would like all major league to have a bye for Victoria Country-Metro clashes to make even more players available to play for Country.

DAMEN FRANCIS July 14, 2014 3:15am

Victoria Country One coach Peter Knights addresses his players at quarter-time of the Community Cup clash with Victoria Metro.


Benalla playing coach Luke Morgan hopes rival major leagues join Goulburn Valley Football League in scheduling a competition bye for future Country-Metro clashes.

Morgan, who pulled on the Victoria Country One jumper for the first time in Saturday’s AFL Victoria Community Cup, withdrew from last year’s team because the game was played the day after Benalla’s round 11 GVFL clash with Mooroopna.

The 25-year-old maintained it was the right decision, but praised league officials for ensuring the situation was avoided this year.

‘‘Thanks must go to the GV for getting it right this year and all the (GV) boys played and got through okay and represented the league well,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘It’s a great opportunity, you get to play with the best and against a bloody good side and (on Saturday) they showed that in tricky conditions, but it was a good game.’’

Metro won the clash at Chirnside Park, Werribee by 38 points.

Goulburn Valley was the most represented league with six players in the final 24, equal with AFL Victoria Country’s No.1-ranked league Geelong, which also had a bye.

Third-ranked league Peninsula had a spilt round, with only four clubs in action, but Ovens and Murray (fourth), Ballarat (fifth), Hampden (seventh) and Gippsland (ninth) played out full rounds.

It was not revealed how many players made themselves unavailable due to club commitments, but Morgan believed the Country team could have been stronger.

‘‘You definitely want a whole state bye for this weekend to get the best from everyone and to not get anyone pulling out,’’ he said.

‘‘I loved it and I’ll be putting my hand up every year.’’

Morgan’s Benalla teammate Will Martiniello withdrew from the side with a chipped bone in his index finger, but was not expected to miss more than two games.

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