NATIMUK Football and Netball Club members have been invited to learn more about the club’s proposed merger with Wimmera Football League outfit Horsham RSL Diggers at an information session on Thursday night.
The Mail-Times announced last week the clubs’ boards voted in favour of an in-principle agreement to become the Natimuk United Football Netball Club and to compete in the Horsham District Football League this year and for the foreseeable future.
While the boards have voted in favour of amalgamation, the agreement needs to be ratified by the clubs’ members.
Financial members will receive postal voting forms, which the clubs’ respective boards have encouraged them to return before a special general meeting on February 19.
Natimuk chairman Andrew Carine said letters outlining the merger had been sent to members.
“It’s been a fortnight since letters were sent out to members and we’ve been working away on the proposed merger every day since,” he said.
“We think it’s appropriate to have the meeting now that more information has become available, so we can update the members about where we’re at.”
The information session will be at the Natimuk oval pavilion at 7pm.
“We’re encouraging all Natimuk Football and Netball Club members to come along so they can make a more informed decision,” Mr Carine said.
He said while he had received positive feedback about the proposed merger, other members had raised concerns.
“There are people who don’t like change and we need to be able to allay their fears,” he said.
“Everyone has different ideas about what those fears might be, so the information session is a good opportunity to discuss a range of points.
“We want to keep our members informed the whole way.”
Horsham United Football Netball Club president Peter Miller said his club did not require an information session at this stage.
“We’ve been keeping our members in stride so we’re pretty right,” he said.
“It’s a good opportunity for Natimuk members to get up to speed with developments.”
Mr Miller said he felt positive about the proposed merger.
“I’ve had a lot of people from the general public come up to me and say they understand the situation we’re in,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate and it’s sad but it’s inevitable – there are just too many clubs and not enough players.
“It’s not a money thing – we’re still a reasonably wealthy club – it’s just the attrition of senior players.”
Natimuk and the Diggers had their first joint training session at Natimuk on Wednesday last
Mr Carine said about 40 players hit the track, which included a mix of senior and under-17 players from both clubs.
“We were very pleased with the roll-up,” he said.
“We also had officials and supporters from Horsham United attend the training and the barbecue that followed.
“We are starting to get an idea of player numbers interested in training and staying on with the newly named club, both in football and netball.”
Mr Carine said netballers had their first joint training session on Tuesday night.
He encouraged all footballers to attend Wednesday night's training session at Natimuk at 6.30pm.