Tungamah Football Netball Club is one of four clubs who have decided to breakaway from the Picola and District Football League in order to stay affiliated to AFL Goulburn Murray and AFL Victoria.
The remaining 13 clubs, including Rennie will now be combined into one Picola league competition with 20 rounds, rather than compete in two geographical divisions as the league has done since 2009.
They, along with the league, will not be affiliated to AFL Goulburn Murray or AFL Victoria after the league rejected a revised affiliation agreement to AFL Goulburn Murray last week.
The four clubs that have decided to breakaway include Tungamah, Shepparton East, Dookie United and Katandra that have all previously competed in the league’s South East division.
A new draw will immediately be put together with Waaia, Rennie, Katunga and Katamatite to now combine with the nine clubs previously in the North West division including Jerilderie, Strathmerton, Picola United, Yarroweyah, Berrigan, Tocumwal, Deniliquin Rovers, Blighty and Mathoura.
In a draft draw released on Tuesday Rennie had the first bye on April 7.
Katandra, Katamatite, Picola United and Strathmerton made their final decisions about whether to stay with the league or breakaway on the weekend. Only Katandra decided to leave.
The future for the four clubs that decided to breakaway will be worked out this week after meetings with AFL Goulburn Murray and other neighbouring league officials.
A four-team competition is on the table along with options of joining the Murray or Kyabram and District leagues.
Tungamah have expressed concerns about the insurance cover sourced by the PDFL due to it no longer being able to access the AFL cover as a result of not signing an affiliation agreement.
The club also wanted junior players to retain access to AFL pathway opportunities including the Murray Bushrangers which will now be denied to 13 PDFL clubs.
Last year’s premier, Rennie Football Netball Club held a meeting on Thursday, March 15 with club members to assist in determining the best way forward.
Rennie’s Club President Andrew Starr said it was not ideal to have to make any decision to stay or go just three weeks out from the start of the season. Rennie were scheduled to play Tungamah on Saturday, April 7 in the first round.
Tungamah Club President Troy Costigan said the support of AFL GM was something the club couldn’t move away from.
‘‘We want to be affiliated,’’ he said.
Costigan said the benefits of staying, including talent pathways and funding made affiliation the club’s only option.
PDFL operations manager Shane Railton said there were no concerns about the insurance cover offered by insurance partnership with Arthur J. Gallagher which would provide the same level of cover to players as previous seasons.
“There are no dramas whatsoever with insurance” he said.
“Comparisons done by others was done on a minimal cover, but we’ve actually upgraded it and added director cover as an optional extra.
“It’s time to move on and they’ve made their decisions and accepted it.”
A 20-round draw starting with a Good Friday game between Tocumwal and Berrigan will be played.
AFLGM regional manager Martin Gleeson said meetings this week would determine the path ahead for the four former PDFL clubs.
The Murray league also starts on Good Friday, with Mulwala playing Congupna at Mulwala.