Hopetoun, Beulah merger 'the only option'

HOPETOUN president Ross Brown believes the club had no choice but to vote in favour of a merger with Mallee Football League club Beulah.

 Mr Brown said the club would have eventually folded otherwise.

“We would rather see an amalgamation with another club than have to fold in three or four years,” he said.

“I’m not saying we would necessarily fold in that time, but it’s getting there.

“We’re just trying to be proactive and making sure we’ve still got a club in the future.

“We don’t want to wait until we’ve got nothing to offer anybody and we have to fold.”

Hopetoun members voted last week in favour of the proposed merger.

More than the AFL Victoria-required minimum of 75 per cent of members voted in favour, meaning the merger will go ahead if Beulah members do the same.

A merger would mean the Mallee league is reduced to six teams.

Mr Brown said a struggle to find volunteers and recruit new players was the driving force behind the decision.

“We’ve got less and less numbers in our schools and around the town, which means we’ve got less locals who can play,” he said.

“Even off the field it means a few people are doing a lot of work, and we think by amalgamating with a club like Beulah, it will help on and off the ground.”

Mr Brown said the club saw Beulah as in ideal partner for a merger because of its positioning to the south of Hopetoun.

With most of the club’s recruits coming from Horsham, Ballarat and Melbourne, Mr Brown said uniting with a club closer to those three areas made sense.

Beulah has not scheduled a date to vote on the proposal.

President Clayton Shannon said it would wait until its committee was finished cropping before voting.

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