PORTLAND might opt for another year in the Western Border Football League before switching to the Hampden league, it emerged yesterday as clubs rush to finalise their views on proposed changes to footy in the region.
Portland, Hamilton and Hamilton Imperials, which have all had the door opened by the Southern Border Review for moves into the Hampden league, are yet to finalise their submissions to the review panel, just six days before the deadline. It is understood Hamilton Imperials will hold a members meeting on Sunday while Melville Oval co-tenant Hamilton will meet with its members on Monday night.
Hampden league clubs unanimously backed the addition of as many teams as possible at a forum on Monday night.
The Hampden league has already submitted its response to the Victorian Country Football League, backing the 17-page Southern Border Review’s draft recommendations.
The review is recommending the Hampden league expand and Hamilton and Hamilton Imperials merge to join the competition.
If a merger can’t be facilitated, each would be free to play wherever they wished in 2013. It also suggested Portland would have a strong case to move to the Hampden league.
Portland president Rodger Hampshire said the Tigers had held a meeting with members after last Saturday’s game and drawn up a list of pros and cons associated with staying in the Western Border league or moving east to the Hampden league.
He said the club’s committee would finalise its view at an 11th-hour meeting on Tuesday night — with the submission due the following day.
“There is no change, the membership is pretty happy to explore the option (of moving into the Hampden league),” he said.
Hampshire revealed the Tigers would need time to make the jump.
“First and foremost we would like another year (in the Western Border league) to get sorted,” he said.
“That would be our first option.
“But it depends on what happens up Hamilton way. With anything it is the fear of the unknown and while this might sound funny, Hampden is more of a known entity than Western Border at this stage, which is not Western Border’s fault.”
The club had received positive vibes about a move but would continue to accept opinions across the weekend.
“Generally the feedback is telling us they would like to have a go in the Hampden league but that is not going to be the final say in the matter,” he said.
The Tigers are worried if Hamilton Imperials, which have been trying for more than 21 years, joined the Hampden league next year, they could be left as one of only two or three Victorian clubs in the Western Border competition.
He said the Tigers had been unable to hold a formal vote because under their constitution they did not have enough time to call the meeting and meet the VCFL’s August 15 deadline.
Hampden president Bob Guiney, who has met Portland and is seeking meetings with Hamilton Imperials and Hamilton, said the league embraced the review and would welcome new clubs.
But he said the league was powerless in the situation.
“It’s up to the clubs and their members,” he said.
“We’ve got no say in what we end up with.”
Representatives from both Hamilton and Hamilton Imperials failed to return calls.