SOUTHERN Mallee Giants will join the Horsham District Football Netball League next year despite opposition from some of the league’s clubs.
The Mallee Football League – where the Giants currently play – will be disbanded at the end of this year.
AFL Victoria Country released the final recommendation report of its north-west structural review on Thursday, recommending the Giants’ move to the district league go ahead.
The move was also recommended in the review’s preliminary report, released at the end of April.
The review was run by the AFL Wimmera Mallee, Central Victoria and Central Murray commissions and aimed to address uncertainty about the short and medium-term structure of competitions.
It also recommended the Mallee league fold at the end of 2015.
Clubs had an opportunity to give feedback after the preliminary report was announced.
Some Horsham District Football Netball League clubs expressed concerns about the Giants joining the competition.
Their concerns included the fact the Giants – who compete in the stronger Mallee league – would overpower some Horsham District opponents.
The review recommended the move go ahead regardless.
It said AFL Victoria’s new equalisation policy – including a player points system and salary cap – would help negate the Giants’ strength.
“The panel acknowledges club feedback and concern about the overall strength and recruiting capacity of the Southern Mallee Giants,” the report said.
“However the AFL Victoria community club sustainability program will ensure a level playing field across the competition.”
Other recommendations in the final report included a merger between Ouyen United and Walpeup-Underbool.
Sea Lake-Nandaly Tigers and Woomelang-Lascelles opposed the recommendation to merge in the preliminary report, and will negotiate further with the commission.