THE Western Border Football League 2020 season is fast approaching, with the first ball to be bounced on April 18.
As is the case with most clubs, the league itself has gone through some changes in the off season, with a new president and board in place.
Michael Summers steps into the role as president and has a strong board behind him, with seven members ready to tackle what will be another big season.
Don Butterworth takes on the role as secretary/treasurer, Peter Allen is in charge of sponsorship, along with other notable names to fill the board.
“Our main aim was to go around and get a good board backing, which we having done now,” Summers said.
“We have a full seven-quorum board and very passionate Western Border people.
“There are 300-game players like Paul Beckman and Heath Sims, while Peter Allen is doing a mountain of work for sponsorship, which is hard with three leagues and four teams based in the Mount.
“Jo Gibbs has come on board from netball, giving netball a voice on our main board, which has not happened for a few years.
“That is good for us, because Western Border netball is a big part of our league and we want to make sure they have a voice.
“Nathan Stratford has also come on from East Gambier, stepping up from the junior committee to the senior committee.
“He has a wealth of knowledge.”
Summers brings plenty of knowledge for the top job, with more than a decade on the board of the Mount Gambier and District Baseball League on the executive and as vice president.
He has also been involved with the Mid South East Football League through his ties with Port MacDonnell.
Overall Summers simply describes himself as a passionate Western Border man.
“I am very passionate about Western Border,” he said.
“I had a grandfather who was a past president, mum has been a life member of netball and dad has been past president of baseball and football clubs.
“With the committed board I have, I am comfortable and excited to take on the role.
“With those experienced heads to lean on, we want to make sure we are the number one league in the region.”
One focus for Summers is the future growth of the league.
He said it was important the league remained as the premier competition in the region and was confident of the entertainment value week in, week out.
“The competition is still there,” Summers said.
“You still do not know week to week who will win.
“North might play East one week and beat them convincingly, then in a few weeks time East might turn the tables and be on the other end.
“What we also want to see as a league is more clubs and we have voiced that opinion to the SANFL and the Limestone Coast council.
“That is in their hands now.”
This year will see the WBFL hold the interleague competition, with the venue yet to be decided.
Anzac Day will also take on a different format as it falls on Saturday.
North and South will still be the traditional Anzac Day game, while East will host Casterton Sandford on the Saturday night at McDonald Park and Millicent will travel to Malseed Park to take on West on the Sunday.
Summers said another focus for the league was the option to have two grounds available for all clubs, allowing juniors games to be played on a Saturday alongside the seniors.
“Our junior competition is healthy, so we need to make sure that continues to grow so the kids come through to play seniors,” Summers said.
“We need to look after Casterton – they do struggle with their juniors, as was reported in the paper (The Border Watch, Friday, February 28) the other week.
“There are so many Under 14 kids and we need to get them playing a full game.
“That is a positive because we have so many kids coming through and the clubs do the junior programs so well.”
Overall Summers said he was pleased with the league’s direction.
“We have had good feedback over the last couple of months with what we are doing,” he said.
“I was uncertain what we were going to do as a league, but with the help of the board we are confident we are heading in the right direction.”