CASTERTON football officials have established a working party to thrash out their response to a review of football on the Victorian-South Australian border.
Cats president Greg Bright said the executive-level working party would develop a submission for the club committee to sign off on and deliver to the review team.
The review, a joint initiative of the Victorian Country Football League and the South Australian Country Football League and released this week, recommended Casterton merge with neighbouring Sandford.
The new club would compete in the Western Border Football League, ending Sandford’s 42-year association with the South West District Football League.
Bright said the working party would “get to the nuts and bolts of it” at a meeting on Wednesday.
He said the club would not have an official position on the recommendations until then, but he was disappointed the review was as vague as it was.
“I guess they’re only recommendations, there’s not much clarity to it,” he said.
“It says to try and merge with Sandford but if we don’t, continue on as we are, we do as what we are.
“It’s the same with Imperials and Hamilton, and even Portland — if you want to go to the Hampden league you can, if you don’t you can stay where you are.
“I hoped they would’ve given us more definitive action to take. I don’t envy their position, it’s not easy.”
Bright said Casterton would have the health of its junior ranks as its number-one priority when formulating its response.
He said the club wanted to play in a league with under-18s, which likely ruled out a move, as a sole or merged entity, into the SWDFL.
Casterton has strong under 18 ranks and has three sides competing in the Casterton-Coleraine Junior Football League.
Bright said his opinion was that merging clubs was only a “quick fix”.
“If we merge with Sandford and Hamilton and Imperials merge, how many players are spare? There’s not a heap,” he said.
“Other clubs might get two or three, well whooppee.
“It has to look at the whole area, not just the Western Border.
“I reckon a lot of blokes won’t play. They’re playing because they have to play.”
Sandford president Eddie McGrath said the club would take at least a fortnight to develop its response.
“My biggest criticism is we haven’t got enough time. But I’m not going to town about it, they have a process to go through.”
McGrath said Sandford was content playing football in the SWDFL.
“We’re very happy playing there. Our season hasn’t gone as good as we hoped, we thought we recruited good enough,” he said.
“We lost one by four points and another by 10 points. That could’ve made a big difference.”