Regional football and netball overhaul up for discussion

CHANGE IN THE AIR: The Limestone Coast Football League is not a new name, having been introduced last season due to the COVID-19 campaign. The league pitted players from clubs of the region's three leagues against one another, including Kybybolite's Will Russell and East Gambier's Jack Dawe. Picture: FRANK MONGER

THE future of the Limestone Coast’s three regional football and netball competitions is up for discussion with consolidation of the region’s three leagues into two new competitions among the concepts floated.

The Limestone Coast Regional Football Council (LCRFC) released a review on the sustainability and structure of football in the region late Wednesday afternoon, outlining potential restructuring options for the Western Border, Mid South East and Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara football leagues.

Four options are explored as part of the discussion paper, including the dissolution of the Western Border league, the launch of a new Limestone Coast Football League with either two geographical or population-based competitions, as well as a Division-based system.

The review also identified several key issues impacting on football in the region, including club viability, league and club administrations, facility standards as well as regional leadership and governance.

It also highlights the LCRFC’s “non-negotiable position” in any football restructure that netball and football, both seniors and juniors, be played together on the same day.

Consideration of the economic interests of communities and what impact any change will have is also outlined.

The report was commissioned following a June meeting requested by the Western Border Football League and instigated by the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), which was attended by representatives from football and netball competitions and clubs.

According to its findings, “there is also a high level of recognition, but not necessarily acceptance” across the region that Limestone Coast football most likely cannot remain sustainable in its current format.

“From past discussions with leagues and clubs, it is somewhat evident that changes to the structure of football on the Limestone Coast is not something that will be immediately embraced,” the report states.

“However, there is a strong evidence that to retain the status quo is not a sustainable option in the medium to longer term – and organic change will continue to occur, as could proactive change.”

LCRFC chair Trevor Smart said the Discussion Paper had been provided to all football leagues and netball associations, as well as their clubs.

“The Discussion Paper is intended to both inform, and to provoke thought from all football leagues, netball associations, football and netball clubs, and players,” Mr Smart said.

“The LCRFC will provide the opportunity for all leagues, associations, and clubs to have face-to-face meetings in late August and early September – to provide their feedback on the Discussion Paper.”

Mr Smart said an online survey would be distributed to all leagues, associations, clubs, and players following initial face-to-face meetings

The LCRFC will also call for nominations to a LCRFC Working Party, to assist the LCRFC in their future considerations of the Discussion Paper, feedback received through meetings and survey, and development of the final report.


ACCORDING to the report, this option would still need significant work on where affected clubs could go.

The effect on existing competitions, junior competitions and netball would also need to further investigated.


NAMED the Limestone Coast Football League, clubs would be split into a northern and southern conference (two separate competitions).

The conference model would have no divisions or relegations.

Among the issues up for consideration are where the north/south “line” would be placed and whether clubs should be equally split across the two conferences.

The impact of travel and effect on junior numbers, equity and development are also highlighted as areas of note.

The option also suggests the potential of a cross-conference round and whether finals would be held for each conference or a combined conference series.

The possible conferences suggested in the discussion paper (based on geography) are:

North: Bordertown, Keith, Mundulla, Padthaway, Border Districts, Lucindale, Naracoorte, Kingston, Robe, Kybybolite, Robe.

South: Port MacDonnell, Kongorong, Casterton-Sandford, West Gambier, East Gambier, North Gambier, South Gambier, Millicent, Tantanoola, Glencoe, Mount Burr, Nangwarry, Kalangadoo, Hatherleigh.


THE region’s three competitions would again be consolidated into the Limestone Coast Football League but rather than conferences based on geography, clubs would be split into Town and Community competitions.

This option would have no divisions or relegation and be based on population with larger towns combining in the Town competition, while smaller towns and rural areas competing in the Community competition.

Club numbers would not need to be equal but the report does note travel may be greater.

The discussion paper asks whether this option provides improved junior competitions and equity.

It also asks whether this would help community clubs move to different structures, such as no or low juniors or no B Grade, to survive.

The impact on recruiting is also questioned.

Town: Bordertown, Keith, Port MacDonnell, Penola, Mundulla, West Gambier, East Gambier, North Gambier, South Gambier, Naracoorte, Millicent, Kingston.

Community: Kongorong, Casterton-Sandford, Padthaway, Border Districts, Lucindale, Tantanoola, Glencoe, Mount Burr, Nangwarry, Kalangadoo, Kybybolite, Hatherleigh, Robe.


THE report states this method would have a significant impact on recruitment between Divisions and would negatively impact competition structures for juniors and netball.