Hampden league president John Ross says there are lessons to be learned from AFL Western District's junior review

OPTIMISTIC: Hampden league president John Ross. Picture: Nick Ansell
OPTIMISTIC: Hampden league president John Ross. Picture: Nick Ansell

First-year Hampden league president John Ross says there are lessons to be learned from the AFL Western District junior review process.

Ross said the backflip, which came after a united front from Hampden club presidents, would give all parties a chance to “have a breather, gather more information and make a more strong decision on the issue”.

He believes there will be thorough consultation on big issues in the future.

“I imagine throughout the year there will be a group formed of league executives, teams and AFL Western District and (we’ll) just keep gathering information and keep discussing it over the full year,” Ross said.

Ross said the Hampden league was happy with the decision because it was “so close to the season” and clubs wanted more communication from the hub on the rulings.

“Going forward, especially with big decisions like this, there will be a lot more process done before anything happens,” he said.

“This year is probably tipping to be a big close season, with both football and netball, and I think it’s sort of been overshadowed because of this (junior review issue).”

Warrnambool and District Football Netball League president Ken McSween said the review had many positive elements for his competition.

However, he echoed Ross’ sentiments, urging more consultation.

Going forward, there will be a lot more process done before anything happens.

John Ross

“We want (consultation) to be more widespread and I think it initially should have consulted the leagues,” McSween said.

“You have to involve all stakeholders to get the most support.

“I know it was a fairly positive review for our league, but I thought the decision to postpone it was inevitable. I think it should have went out in a draft form to get feedback before releasing the final result.”

The decision was also welcomed by Western Victoria MP James Purcell, who slammed the review when it was in its infancy.

“If it wasn't for (our clubs) change wouldn't happen, and now we have the added bonus of bringing consultation into the process,” Purcell said.

Parent Lucas Wilson, who started a petition which gathered 640 signatures when the issue first came to light, was thrilled. “I think it was a smart decision,” he said.