Fears for future of Mallee Footy and Netball as BDT depart
There are strong fears Mallee football and netball as we've known it will be no more as the 2022 season concludes, with a Flow correspondent voicing the fears many have held since one of the six clubs quit the league.
The Border Downs Tintinara Crows elected to merge with River Murray Football Netball League's Meningie Bears to form the 'Coorong Cats' for the 2023 season, leaving the cross-border leagues with 5 remaining teams - and a bye.
On Saturday at Karoonda, the Pinnaroo Suparoos prevailed in the grand final over the wantaway Crows by 9.14 (68) to 4.5 (29), with Murrayville triumphant in the B grade by 19 points after being shut out of the 2021 finals due to border restrictions.
Karoonda triumphed in A-grade netball grand final by 13 goals over Peake, Lameroo were victorious by 20 goals over Pinnaroo in the B-grade and securing the C-grade premiership with a 15 goal triumph against Murrayville.
The league is one of several unique competitions in Australia featuring cross-border competition, featuring Victoria's Murrayville Bulldogs. The Mallee league has battled through COVID-19 cross border restrictions in recent years making participation at times very difficult.
Lameroo netball club's Nicole McMahon told Flow she feared for the league's future:
"It's got my stomach in knots, its a bit devastating what we're hearing ... there's obviously talk of further club mergers or club exits - we are obviously farewelling Borders - its looking like a five team comp might not be the case. If it's six, five or four teams, we'll make it work ...
"I love our league and what we've sustained in the Mallee ... our heritage is so strongly rich, I grew up in this league ... it's a brilliant family friendly environment on a Saturday, country footy to our communities is so much more than a game of sport. The Mallee league no longer being how it is - the flow on effect will be devastating."
Hear the full interview with Nicole McMahon on the Flow podcast player:
Rumours persist that other Mallee clubs may also merge and compete in other leagues if the competition folds, though it will mean longer distances for training and match involvement that could diminish participation levels.