By Tricia Mifsud
BROADFORD and Yea football clubs will form a partnership for the remainder of the season to solve the two sides’ player shortage issues.
Both clubs struggled in the preseason to attract enough footballers to fill senior and reserves teams – a trend that has continued to be a problem in the opening rounds of the 2022 Outer East Football Netball League season.
Broadford Football Netball Club president Bonnie Cavanagh said the league approached Broadford to see if the club was willing to accept Yea players to play in season 2022.
Yea has 26 registerd to play in 2022 – only enough to field one side to compete in the seniors.
Broadford has about 50 footballers registered, with its reserves numbers varying each week depending on player availability and injuries.
The partnership means both seniors and reserves players across the two clubs would be guaranteed games each week.
Cavanagh said football coaches, captains and key players from both clubs met to discuss the proposal, but details about what jumpers the teams would wear, who would be the coaches and captains, and where the teams would train were still to be determined.
The league is expected to release a new fixture this week, with the partnership team to start playing on May 7.
Cavanagh said Broadford netballers would continue to play the same teams as the club’s footballers, but there could be occasions when 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 were looking forward to the partnership and supporting Yea as it underwent similar issues to her 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 such as ours,” she said.
“It’s been a really difficult time for community sport on a number of fronts, and one of our biggest challenges in the pre-season was attracting players and boosting support for our core group of footballers.
“With Yea also 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 and so on.
“This move to unite the playing groups will allow us to field two football sides each week as a collective, and both build for 2023 as we continue to recover from COVID interrupted seasons.”
The two clubs will combine the support of their committees and volunteers to assist one another on game days.
Broadford and Yea members will have access to home games at both Harley Hammond Reserve and Yea Showgrounds, with both clubs to receive a distribution of gate takings and other profits from game days.
Cavanagh said the partnership of the two football clubs would be temporary for the 2022 season, and the netball sides would remain as separate clubs.
“It was really important to both clubs that the netball remained independent and unchanged, so we are pleased this is occurring,” she said.
Cavanagh thanked the league and those involved for assisted in helping make the partnership possible.
“We really commend the league and the other clubs within division two who have thrown support behind both of us and want to help. It’s a nice change,” she said.