Sport

Picola League signs AFL extension

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

The Picola District Football Netball League has committed to a three-year extension to its affiliation agreement with AFL Goulburn Murray.

The agreement marks the final chapter in the tense relationship between the governing body and the district league, now on board until the end of 2022.

The Picola league did not affiliate with AFL GM for last season, but agreed to a deal for this year in August, before the extension was finalised on Wednesday night.

AFL GM region general manager Jamie Macri said he was thrilled the parties could come together, work through differences and move forward in the best interests of local football.

‘‘It’s really exciting for everyone involved, everyone’s moving forward and working together,’’ Macri said.

‘‘The relationship (with the PDFNL) is positive, we’re working together and I hope there’s a bit more trust now they’re in for a long time.

‘‘What’s happened in the past is in the past, I wasn’t here for that, but (signing on) is of great benefit to football in the region, it gives real stability.’’

PDFNL operations manager Shane Railton agreed it was a huge step forward for both organisations.

‘‘It’s terrific, it’s really good for everyone and gives great solidarity to the entire local area, for both us and the commission,’’ Railton said.

‘‘We’ve had a fractured relationship in the past, but I’ve enjoyed working with Jamie, he’s been a delight to talk to about many different things.

‘‘Both Jamie and I have obviously been working on this for a while, but it’s all come together recently, pretty quickly in the last couple of weeks.’’

He said the proposal was put to the Picola District Football Netball League board and signed on Monday last week, went to the AFL GM by Friday, and was taken to the commission and signed.

The working relationship has had each Picola League club sign its own affiliation agreement, something Railton said had not happened before Macri became region general manager.

‘‘Not one of our clubs had seen an affiliation agreement until Jamie started working, they were never presented to the clubs,’’ he said.

‘‘Within two weeks of Jamie taking over, the majority of clubs had received and signed them.

‘‘I’ve been to the commission office more times in the first month of Jamie being region general manager than any person from the Picola League had been the previous five years.

‘‘The mandate has been there from our clubs to find a longer-term agreement, we weren’t able to do that last year, but we were happy to keep negotiating. The response from the clubs to this news has been unbelievable,’’ he said.