By Tricia Mifsud
BROADFORD and Yea Football Clubs will form a partnership for the remainder of the season to address both teams’ player shortage issues.
Both clubs struggled during pre-season to attract enough footballers to fill senior and reserve squads – a trend that continued to be a problem in the early rounds of the 2022 Outer East Football Netball League season. .
Broadford Football Netball Club chairman Bonnie Cavanagh said the league had approached Broadford to see if the club was ready to accept players from Yea to play in the 2022 season.
Yea has 26 entries to play in 2022 – just enough to field a squad to compete at the senior level.
Broadford have around 50 registered footballers, with their reserve numbers varying weekly depending on player availability and injuries.
The partnership means seniors and reserve players from both clubs would have guaranteed matches every week.
Cavanagh said football coaches, captains and key players from both clubs have met to discuss the proposal, but details of which riders the teams would wear, who the coaches and captains would be, and where the teams would be. would train remained to be determined.
The league is set to release a new game this week, with the partner team due to start play on May 7.
Cavanagh said Broadford netballers would continue to play the same teams as club footballers, but there could be occasions where Yea netballers would play at a different venue.
She said premiership points from games already played this season would still be counted.
Cavanagh said the Kangaroos looked forward to the partnership and were supporting Yea as he endured similar issues at his own club.
“[We are] looking forward to supporting and creating a unique partnership with another local community club with great people and a proud history like ours,” she said.
“It has been a very difficult time for community sport on a number of fronts, and one of our biggest challenges in pre-season has been attracting players and building support for our core group of footballers.
“With Yea struggling with the same issue and only being able to field seniors, it would quickly become unsustainable for them throughout the season if injuries occurred etc.
“This decision to unite the player groups will allow us to field two football teams each week as a collective, and both prepare for 2023 as we continue to recover from seasons interrupted by COVID.”
The two clubs will combine the support of their committees and volunteers to help each other on match days.
Members of Broadford and Yea will have access to home games at the Harley Hammond Reserve and Yea Showgrounds, with both clubs receiving a distribution of gate receipts and other game day benefits.
Cavanagh said the two football clubs’ partnership would be temporary for the 2022 season and the netball teams would remain separate clubs.
“It was really important to both clubs that netball remained independent and unchanged, so we are delighted that this is happening,” she said.
Cavanagh thanked the league and those involved for helping to make the partnership possible.
“We really congratulate the league and the other clubs in Division Two who have supported us both and want to help. It’s a beautiful change,” she said.