SOUTH-WEST football netball leagues will have a greater capacity to work together on common goals and issues when a new regional administration centre (RAC) is brought into effect, according to AFL Western Victoria regional manager Lachy Patterson.
The Hampden, Warrnambool and District, Mininera and District and South West leagues have all signed on to join the AFL Western District RAC, which will start operating in February.
The RAC will see three new roles created to replace existing league chief executive officer and general manager positions.
The senior operations manager will be charged with overseeing the new centre as a whole, as well as driving the push to find new revenue streams for the four leagues.
An operations co-ordinator will handle the “day-to-day” aspects of league administration, while an operations officer will also take on some financial aspects and offer support to the other two roles.
Patterson said the RAC would give leagues a chance to collaborate on the issues that concern them all.
“There’s a lot of discussion about the future of junior football in the region; it allows them to discuss how we approach that,” Patterson said.
“(And things like) better recruitment of umpires, which is a problem everywhere.
“It looks at issues like volunteer burnout and provides them (the leagues) the opportunity to work together in that common space rather than in the past where it’s been individual.”
The Western District is the last AFL Victoria commission to take up the RAC, with Geelong-based AFL Barwon and Ballarat’s AFL Goldfields having switched to the system 15 and 10 years ago respectively.
Patterson said there was plenty of encouragement to take from how the centres have operated in other regions.
“There’s been some really great success stories across the state (where leagues have) worked really well together,” he said.
“There’s a lot of synergy in terms of what’s happening in football and netball leagues elsewhere.
“I still think the most exciting aspect is the ability to talk to administrative services of four senior leagues in one building.”
Leagues will still have independence in their governance and finances, but it is hoped the RAC will free them to focus more on strategic plans than day-to-day operations.