A RECORD finals series lifted the Hampden Football Netball League to a third consecutive profit but president Bob Guiney is foreshadowing belt-tightening entering an exciting new era for the competition.
The league last night reported a $13,563 profit for the 12 months to October this year $2200 more than the previous period.
The league's annual general meeting in Warrnambool was told clubs shared in $24,950, $200 less than last year, during a tough trading period.
Financial reports revealed the league's sponsorship had suffered a drop of more than $39,800 but that was offset by bumper finals gatetakings, a reduction in payroll expenses and significant savings ($21,200) on uniforms for interleague sides.
"If you said 12 months ago we would be sitting here in a good financial position and we had an additional two clubs for next season and we had a record junior grand final gate and record senior grand final gate I would have been over the moon," Guiney told The Standard.
"Overall I have been very pleased, I tend to be very hard to please, I tend to be critical.
"Now our goals for 2012 have been achieved, we move on to 2013 and let's be fiscally responsible and really, really crack down.
"We need to try to keep some of the money that comes through the turnover stick to our fingers."
He said the league had spent about $3300 on legal counsel fees in its bid to secure Hamilton Imperials for the 2012 season.
He defended the figure, saying the move had resulted in Hamilton Kangaroos, formed out of a merger between Imperials and arch rival Hamilton, and Portland joining the competition next season.
Guiney said the league would vigorously argue it needed a "true" home interleague match next season, having had this year's "home" match taken to Princes Park at Carlton to appease opponent Ovens and Murray.
He said the league's interleague expenses this year had been reduced from $19,000 to $15,000 but believed it could be tightened up more with a game staged in front of a home crowd.
Preliminary discussions have next year's match against Sunraysia pencilled in for Hamilton, he said.
Guiney played down the drop in sponsorship, which wasn't as large as reported because a couple of sponors had yet to pay and a couple had paid for 2012 last year.
The league received more than $108,000 in sponsorship compared with $148,000 the previous year.
"It was somewhere between $54,000 and $60,000 five years ago.
"Anywhere between $100,000 and $120,000 is good, anything over that is unsustainable, you can't adequately service the sponsors."
The league's record income from finals gate-takings ($135,316) was more than $11,589 up on 2011 and almost $20,000 more than the figure from two years ago.
That was underpinned by a $56,112 grand final gate.