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Southern Mallee Giants welcomed into WFL with open arms

Southern Mallee Giants celebrate HDFNL Senior Grand Final 2017.

Southern Mallee Giants celebrate HDFNL Senior Grand Final 2017.

By DEAN LAWSON
Football leaders welcoming Southern Mallee Giants into Wimmera league this year are confident the move will strengthen everything from community connections to regional sporting standards.
Wimmera league chief commissioner Trevor Albrecht said his commission had jumped at the opportunity to welcome the Giants into the competition.
“We’re absolutely rapt and pretty excited about everything that has happened in such a short period of time,” he said.
“What’s great about it is that we believe the Giants will throw themselves right into it and immediately try to match the top few teams. We’re not only getting a new side coming into the league, but a strong side that is used to winning.
“From a league perspective, we would have been foolish to not seize this opportunity.”
Mr Albrecht said the addition of the Southern Mallee Giants would add a fresh dynamic to Wimmera football and netball competitions.
He said as well as building on competition numbers, it would also strengthen the leagues’ Victorian reputation at interleague level and consolidate and build on pathways and standards.
He also agreed it would continue to expand cultural connectivity between the Wimmera and southern Mallee.
“It’s going to be wonderful to embrace a couple of new communities into our league,” he said.
“We can’t wait for a first-round marquee game when the Giants meet Warrack Eagles. It’s going to be a blockbuster standalone game.”
Mr Albrecht added the evolution of the Giants, from relatively small rural clubs to a premiership force that had made its way into a regional league, might have established a country football blueprint for others to follow.
“You never know. I think clubs will start talking a lot more about what options are out there,” he said.
Wimmera league leaders have been keen to grow their competition for decades, notably in response to the transfer of Rupanyup to Horsham District league in 1981, Jeparit to Mallee league in 1990 and a merger between Minyip and Murtoa in 1995.
Horsham United joined the competition as Imperials-Wonwondah in 1983, and Horsham Saints filled a void in 1993. Horsham United remained in the league until 2014 before returning to Horsham District league in a merger with Natimuk.
The league has been running with eight clubs, Ararat, Dimboola, Horsham, Horsham Saints, Minyip-Murtoa, Nhill, Stawell and Warrack Eagles since the Horsham United departure.
In the past, Wimmera leaders have explored the idea of approaching North Central league clubs Donald and St Arnaud and even considered Edenhope and Kaniva district teams.
As part of change, Stawell, Ararat and Horsham teams will play away games against the Giants at Beulah. The others will play away games at Hopetoun.
Mr Albrecht said he had been impressed with how Ararat, facing the longest away trip in playing the Giants, had responded to the move.
“While it is one kilometre less travelling from Ararat to Beulah as it is from Ararat to Nhill, it is another long trip for them and Ararat president David Jennings was very positive about embracing the change and moving forward. It’s a big thing to put the league first,” he said.
Mr Albrecht said he had also been impressed by how well three football commissions – Wimmera, Horsham District and Wimmera Mallee Region – had managed to navigate through such a major change within 30 days.
Southern Mallee Giants have won back-to-back Horsham District league premierships since joining the competition in 2016.
Wimmera Football League operates alongside Wimmera Netball Association, which has also welcomed the move.

See the new, updated WFL draw including the Southern Mallee Giants here: New 2018 Wimmera Football League draw


Click here for the new, updated HDFNL draw after the move of the Southern Mallee Giants to Wimmera Football League: New Horsham and District Football League draw for 2018

The entire January 24, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Jan 24 2018

Posted by on Jan 24 2018. Filed under FEATURED, News, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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