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  • Rikki Lambert

Meningie not eating Crows but BDT-boosted entity to power into 2023 RMFL

The Border Downs Tintinara Crows will be no more in 2023, leaving the Mallee Football League to merge with the Meningie Bears as a larger entity within River Murray football and netball competitions.

In a Friday afternoon statement, the Meningie and BDT Football and Netball Sporting Clubs said they were:

"...very pleased to announce that we have reached a consensus on our amalgamation strategy. We reached this decision after facilitating a very thorough and extensive review, which included the appointment of Strategic Committees and external consultants, detailed analysis of data, surveying and open community meetings."

Both Clubs, on Tuesday the 12th of July agreed “in-principle” to amalgamate their respective entities into one for the 2023 season and play sport within the River Murray Association.

The news comes in a week that could later be seen as the beginning of a domino effect in eastern South Australian football, with the Riverland Independents announcing they were parting company with the Riverland Football League to form the 'Murray Valley Football and Netball League'. A significant component of that development was the opportunity to align football and netball fixtures - as occurs further south in the south-east - whereas Riverland football and netball do not play aligned fixtures.

The BDT Crows are the reigning premiers in Mallee football have been a force to be reckoned with since joining the league in 2001, winning 12 premierships. They won the 2021 decider by just 2 points over Pinnaroo and by 9 points in the previous completed season in 2019. The Crows leave the league potentially with a bye in 2023 and are currently second on the ladder with 6 wins and a draw with top side Pinnaroo from 11 starts.

The Mallee league also had significant recent challenges with COVID-19-related border restrictions with Victoria, as the Murrayville football and netball club from across the border were unable to participate at times during recent seasons.

The emergence of a new 'Murray Valley Football and Netball League' in 2023 and a bye in Mallee football could be the catalyst for other Mallee sides to consider their allegiances.

River Murray football's Meningie Bears are enjoying a better 2022 season with 6 wins and a draw from 12 starts, after registering just one win in 2021 and not taking part in the 2020 season.

The Meningie and BDT clubs say they will work over coming weeks to navigate and approve finer details of the amalgamation and all regulatory obligations, noting that the final merger decision is conditional upon;

  • Final agreement between BDTSA and Meningie Football and Netball Clubs and;

  • Approval from all relevant State and Regional Sporting Organisations

The clubs acknowledged the decision "has ramifications for both the Mallee Football and Netball and River Murray Football and Netball Leagues and their associated Clubs. We wish all clubs and leagues the greatest respect and wishes for their futures."

The current speculation is the new entity could adopt a 'Coorong' branding and possibly be known as the Coorong Crows.


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