Sport

GVL shaking up its junior competition

By Kyabram Free Press

THE GVL will introduce an Under 16 competition to its football roster in 2020 — and the Kyabram Football Netball Club is in favour of it.

The GVL last week was granted permission by the AFL Goulburn Murray Commission to add the Under 16 age group to its seniors, reserves and thirds (under 18’s) competitions from next year.

After two years of research and two formal applications from the GVL the Commission agreed to allow the recommendation to proceed.

Kyabram Football Club president Mark Schumann said his club had been in favour of the move.

‘‘We haven’t pushed it as hard as some clubs but we think it will benefit our club,’’ Schumann said.

‘‘We will field a division one side in this competition and a division two side in the Shepparton Junior Football League but they will be both under the banner of the Kyabram Football Club and will be treated as the one group,’’ added Schumann.

Some GVL clubs are not in favour of the innovation but it will not be compulsory for clubs to field a side if they don’t want to at this stage.

However up to eight clubs have indicated they will be in the inaugural competition which in most cases will be played prior to the thirds games and will mean four games for the day at the one venue.

But clubs can be flexible in arranging game times and those with suitable lighting may stage some Under 16 clashes after senior games if both clubs are agreeable.

In the case of clubs wanting the Under 16’s to be the first game of the day times for all games will be adjusted with later starting times – possibly about 20 minutes - for the thirds, reserves and senior games.

Region General Manager, Jamie Macri, explained, “The AFL GM Commission is satisfied the entry of the GVL Under 16’s is in keeping with its Strategic Plan as well as the findings of the Junior Review.

‘‘The Junior Review has been the largest body of work undertaken by AFL GM and, in association with strong junior player data, has provided a strong evidence base on which the decision has been made.”

Peter Foott, Commission Chairman added, “The size of this change to the Junior structure in the area has been taken into consideration and the Commission understands not all parties will be positive about the change.

‘‘The Commission is confident the change will underpin positive reform in our region and serve the best interests of the game in the AFL Goulburn Murray Region.”

The decision has taken into account the time needed for all stake holders to prepare for the 2020 season.

■IN THIS COLUMN last week I mentioned how Kyabram had produced a steady list of players who had worn a Big V jumper at junior level over the years.

I haven’t had any additions to that list but I have learnt recent GVL Hall of Fame inductee, Tongala’s Mick Souter had worn the big V in his junior days.

Souter is related to Kyabram’s Charlie Barnett who was recently selected in the Big V Under 15 side to contest the National Championships in Tasmania next month.

Souter’s grandfather and Barnett’s great grandfather is Kyabram legend, the late Wilf Cox.

Mick Souter represented Victoria in 1976 at Under 17 level when the National competition was known as the TEAL Cup.

The Big V was almost untouchable at junior level in those days and Mick recalls Victoria going through the National carnival, which was played at Wagga, undefeated.

Mick has some illustrious teammates in that side including VFL greats, Carlton’s Ken Sheldon, father of current Kyabram co-coach Sam Sheldon, and Jim Buckley.

■THE NIGHTMARE SEASON for GVL tipsters continued last weekend.

How can a side, beaten by 25 goals the previous week by Kyabram, bounce back a week later and beat a side that has given the unbeaten Bombers one of its stiffest tests for the season.

But that’s what the Shepparton Swans did – a three goal win over Euroa, the side that stretched Kyabram a month ago.

But upsets didn’t end there on Saturday.

Tatura, the side that has pushed Kyabram the hardest this season- admittedly in the opening round nearly three months ago now - fell to Seymour, in a last kick of the day thriller.

Kyabram beat Seymour by 12 goals in round seven.

■KYABRAM’S VETERAN GOAL kicking forward Kayne Pettifer has been cleared of a ‘‘unbecoming rough play’’ charge arising out of a recent GVL clash with Euroa.

Acting on a complaint by the Euroa club the matter was referred by the AFL country investigation officer to the GVL independent tribunal which took about 50 minutes to exonerate Pettifer after league video evidence was presented.

Don’t know whether the experience was a little upsetting for Pettifer who couldn’t find his straight kicking boot against Shepparton United on Saturday.

In the first 17 minutes of the game at Kyabram, Pettifer had an incredible six shots on goal, but only managed to slot one through the big sticks.

He managed only two for the game but still holds the lead on the GVL goalkicking list with 42, five clear of Mansfield’s James Lawton and six ahead of Kyabram teammate Kyle Mueller who missed last Saturday’s game with a hamstring twinge.

■POPULAR FORMER ECHUCA Football Netball Club president Brett Stevens has been appointed to the GOTAFE Goulburn Valley League Board.

Stevens fills the positon caused by the resignation of Quentin Thomson to take up a position on the AFL Goulburn Murray Commission.

Stevens is a very experienced football person in the GOTAFE GVL, having been in charge of the Murray Bombers from 2013 – 2017.

He has not been involved in any official capacity in the GVL since the end of 2017, and is looking forward to his role on the board.