RESPECTED administrator Justin Balmer is resigning as president of the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League (WDFNL).
Balmer will end a 10-year affiliation with the league when he steps down from the helm at the annual general meeting next month.
The revelation means the WDFNL will have a new president for the first time since 2006.
Balmer also spent 2002 on the executive and 2003 as president.
“It hit me like a runaway train in the finals series. This was a hard finals series,” Balmer said yesterday.
“Grand final night we go for tea and I could hardly get my head off the table I was that tired.
“We had a meeting 10 days later after the finals to finalise a few things and I thought ‘I don’t want to be here’.
“I was physically and mentally spent. Next year I’m going to do nothing in football apart from taking my grandson for a kick.”
Balmer said he came to the decision easily in finals.
“This was the end of my two-year term. It was my fourth two-year term up,” he said. “If you’d asked me before the finals, I would’ve said ‘yeah, I’ll go around again’.”
Balmer started his involvement in football in 1982, running the boundary for the Port Fairy reserves.
He was team manager when the Seagulls lost the 1983 Hampden league flag to Colac and spent the following two years on the club committee.
Balmer spent the next 16 years as an umpire, controlling the play in Warrnambool, Melbourne and Geelong.
His years on the WDFNL executive started in 2002.
He rose to president in 2003, the first season involving merged entities Kolora-Noorat and Timboon Demons.
“Why I got off at the end of 2003 was it was still a delegates-run league and that drove me spare,” Balmer said.
“The following two years, Liam Poynton and Ian Amoore were president.
“Ian Amoore and Logie Watson went to the clubs at the end of 2005 and said ‘this is not working. You either put an independent executive in charge or we walk away’. They were the only two left.”
The clubs accepted that and Balmer was welcomed back to the fold.
Balmer said Watson, Amoore and Dianne Membery provided the most support for him during his tenure.
He said playing finals outside of Warrnambool was one of his biggest legacies.
“As I keep stressing to people, the District league doesn’t finish at the Allansford bridge,” he said.
Balmer predicted a bright future for the WDFNL because it was built around a growing regional city.
Sponsorship of the league has lifted from about $11,000 in 2006 to more than $60,000 in 2013.