By RUSSELL BENNETT
NYORA isn’t going anywhere.
The Saints’ president Peter Levey told the Gazette back in February that he feared he’d be the last person to ever hold that title if the club was forced into joining the Alberton Football Netball League.
But after the release of the final Senior Leagues Review recommendations from AFL Gippsland, the Saints will be staying put in the Ellinbank league – alongside famous rivals Poowong.
The newly-formed West Gippsland Football Netball Competition will feature nine clubs in its first year, but Inverloch-Kongwak will replace Korumburra-Bena in the final make-up.
The Korumburra-Bena and Nyora changes are the only two from the initial recommendation report presented to the commission in January.
AFL Gippsland region general manager Travis Switzer said the response to the new structure was extremely positive.
“The vast majority of anecdotal evidence we have had so far has been about the potential for competitive balance across the region, and there is a real buzz about the new league,” he said.
“Korumburra-Bena have made no secret of their desire to play in the West Gippsland competition but the commission felt at this point in time the club was more suited to the Alberton Football Netball League.
“We have said from day one that we preferred league structures to be more fluid in terms of their member clubs, so the door remains open for Korumburra-Bena to move West in the future.”
Clubs and leagues have a week to appeal against the recommendations.
Keep an eye on next week’s Pakenham-Berwick Gazette for a full run-down, including comments from a range of clubs and leagues, and more from AFL Gippsland.
Here is how the senior leagues across Gippsland will look in 2017:
West Gippsland Football Netball Competition (9 teams): Bunyip, Cora Lynn, Dalyston, Garfield, Inverloch-Kongwak, Kilcunda-Bass, Kooweerup, Nar Nar Goon, Phillip Island.
EDFL and EDNA (10): Buln Buln, Catani, Ellinbank, Lang Lang, Longwarry, Neerim Neerim South, Nilma Darnum, Nyora, Poowong, Warragul Industrials.
Alberton (8): DWWWW, Fish Creek, Foster, Korumburra-Bena, Meeniyan Dumbalk United, Stony Creek, Tarwin, Toora.
Gippsland League (10): Bairnsdale, Drouin, Leongatha, Maffra, Moe, Morwell, Sale, Traralgon, Warragul, Wonthaggi.
North Gippsland (10): Churchill, Cowwarr, Glengarry, Gormandale, Heyfield, Rosedale, Sale City, Traralgon Tyers United, Woodside, Yarram.
Mid Gippsland (10): Boolarra, Hill End, Mirboo North, Morwell East, Newborough, Thorpdale, Trafalgar, Yallourn Yallourn North, Yarragon, Yinnar.