WDFNL offers potential finals hosts funds for upgrades

WARRNAMBOOL and District Football Netball League will help fund upgrades to grounds it believes are capable of hosting finals.

League officials after offering grants up to $10,000 to eligible clubs to bring their facilities up to scratch. 

New WDFNL president Ken McSween said the infrastructure grants program, finalised on Wednesday night, would give clubs an incentive to host finals. 

McSween said officials had discussed the initiative for three years before finally launching it ahead of the 2014 season.

“I’m pretty proud of the fact the District league is a fairly progressive and innovative league and I’m hoping that continues,” he said.

Projects eligible for grants include oval and court resurfacing, spectator shelter and improvements to changerooms, toilets, canteens and bars.

The league will also provide money for upgrades to gatekeeper huts, scoreboards and ground fencing.

McSween said the program was open to clubs whose grounds the league had identified as a finals venue. But he said the league would consider all applications.

“If a club wishes to do something and they feel it would put them in a situation where they could become a finals venue, we would probably look at that,” he said.

The grants program was one of a host of issues up for discussion at the WDFNL executive meeting on Wednesday night. 

In other developments:

n  P anmure premiership coach Simon O’Keefe will coach the WDFNL representative side in its interleague clash against Colac and District Football League (CDFL) on May 24. 

O’Keefe steered the side to a 13-point loss to the CDFL at Reid Oval last season. Ben Van De Camp has the reins of the under 17s, Darren Cross will guide the under 16s and Greg Kew will mentor the under 14s.

n  The South West Junior Football Carnival will be on May 25, meaning WDFNL junior footballers will miss just one week of their regular season, rather than two.

n  A substitute rule, which allows clubs to have a 22nd player from the under 17½ ranks in their senior side, will come into effect in 2014.

n  Carey Hackett has taken on the vice-president role.

McSween said he expected the substitute rule to be popular among clubs wanting to blood young talent. “From my point of view, it’s a chance to reward junior players,” he said. 

“Some teams have players who get best on ground in the under 17s but they’re not quite sure if they’re ready to take that next step.

“They can play in the morning. The only thing is when they sit on the bench, the senior team must give them 10 minutes’ game time.”

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