The Riverland Independent Football League will be known as the Murray Valley Football and Netball League from next season if the split from the current governing body is successful.
Most important points:
- The Riverland Independent Football League nears its split from the RFL
- The independent football and korfball leagues will be combined under the proposed rebranding
- League officials hope the proposed joint committee will streamline decision-making
Known locally as the “independents”, the league is considered the second tier of the sport in the region and is governed by the Riverland Football League (RFL) council.
The RFL also operates the region’s “top-tier” football league, known as the Riverland Football League.
In March, a South Australian National Football League (SANFL) committee passed motions that would allow the independents to split from the RFL and run their own league with their own board.
Since then, the clubs have been negotiating with the SANFL and the RFL board about how the split would work and when it would take effect.
SANFL Riverland operations officer Shane Uren said the proposed league was to set up a committee, but the process was nearing completion.
“We need real evidence that the new league will be able to establish itself constitutionally,” he said.
“We just need to make sure all the boxes are checked so we can go to (SANFL) Community Football and they’ll say we’re all set.”
Mr Uren added that the “unique” nature of the way football was run in the Riverland had created scheduling issues.
“For people from outside the region, they were a little bit dubious about the necessity of the split at first and so they made some caveats,” he said.
Netball and football to come together
The Riverland Independent Netball League consists of the same clubs and organizes competitions in conjunction with football, but has already managed itself.
The proposed league would formally bring together the independent football and korfball leagues for the first time.
Hayley Kain, president of the Riverland Independent Netball League, said the move will streamline decision-making.
“We will be able to combine and only have one committee so that we can make decisions together instead of waiting for the footballers to decide on things like the games,” she said.
“We have six small clubs and a limited number of volunteers and we are all distributed in different ways, so it would be a huge advantage to bring everything together and form one committee.”
Ms Kain said the netball league’s previous experience of running its own league meant it was well placed for the league’s launch in 2023.
She said all independent clubs are hopeful to grow their player numbers in both sports if the proposed new competition is successful.
“We hope that we can add some new players and strengthen the competition. Especially for korfball, there is always room for more degrees if necessary.”