Kalangadoo and Penola to consider league shift following recommendations from Limestone Coast Regional Football Council review

HOPEFUL: Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League president Peter McClellan was disappointed with the recommendation and hopes Penola will stay in the league. Photo: File

HOPEFUL: Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League president Peter McClellan was disappointed with the recommendation and hopes Penola will stay in the league. Photo: File

A review into the sustainability and structure of football on the Limestone Coast has recommended a change in structure to competitions in the region, including teams moving leagues.

Under the proposal from the Limestone Coast Regional Football Council, which was endorsed by the SANFL and revealed to clubs and leagues this week, Kalangadoo would leave the Mid South Eastern Football League (MSEFL) and Penola would move from the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League (KNTFL) to join teams from the Western Border Football League in a newly-created league from 2023.

The recommendation comes following a report into the sustainability and structure of football in the region.

Both clubs have not made a commitment, but will further discuss the matter.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Kalangadoo said it was a proposal the club did not initiate or pursue, and is a recommendation to be considered.

"Please be assured that under no circumstances have any commitments been made and at this stage we are an active member of the Mid South East Football and Netball League," the statement said.

"As football and netball committees we intend to be absolutely transparent, open and honest with all stakeholders over the coming weeks as we discuss all implications, challenges and opportunities in greater details."

Penola said in a statement on its Facebook page that it would explore its options in great detail.

"Penola Football Netball Club has not in any way pursued a change of leagues but has found itself in a position where it now needs to work through the proposal and secure the future that is best for our great club," the statement said.

The report recommended that short-term changes to the Limestone Coast competitions be implemented for 2023, with medium to long-term changes being introduced in the coming years.

That includes a switch to two competitions based on a 'Town and Community' competition model, which would split teams in the region into two leagues based on town size and population centres.

The report envisages the town and community competitions would come into effect in the next five to 10 years.

Council chairperson Trevor Smart said the recommendations were what was thought would be best for the region.

"I appreciate that our Final Report and recommendations may not be pleasing to all, but we have taken a view, and sought outcomes, that will in our opinion, provide a sustainable structure for football and netball," he said.

MSEFL president Peter Mitchell said he was "gobsmacked" when he heard the recommendation and was not happy about the prospect of losing a foundation club.

"There was nothing to me that indicated there would be a need for a change, and from all interviews conducted with clubs and leagues, they were not unhappy with the current situation," he said.

"The clubs in our league are all from small communities and towns, and are clubs that are well supported by their communities, who are very passionate.

"I don't think Kalangadoo are very happy to have been put in this position, but I've told them they need to go through the process and make their mind up - from a league perspective I said we will support them whatever they choose, but I don't want them to go."

Mr Mitchell said he was disappointed with how the message had been conveyed to leagues and clubs, and thought there would be more consultation.

"It's great to have a review, but we were promised it would be used as a blueprint for something in the future if there's a catalyst, but this is not what was done."

KNTFL president Peter McClellan said the recommendation was disappointing for the league and he hoped Penola would stay.

"We do not want to lose a foundation club of our league - they are a very good, well-run club, and we enjoy having them in our league," he said.

"We do not want to lose them, but it is only a recommendation at this stage.

"If Penola want to go we'll say good luck, but we hope they don't go."

Mr McClellan said if Penola did shift league it would mean the KNTFL would get smaller and have to revert to a bye.

Western Border Football League president Michael Summers declined to comment.

This story Football review recommends league changes first appeared on Naracoorte Herald.