By Russell Bennett
Cranbourne is the second South East Football Netball League club to publically announce its intentions for 2019 and beyond, and the Eagles have made it clear – they see their future in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League.
The announcement comes just 24 hours after SEFNL opponent Officer announced its intention to move to AFL Yarra Ranges and the proposed ‘AFL Greater East competition’.
In a statement provided to the News, Cranbourne president Gerry Kelly said: “Due to the upcoming demise of the SEFNL competition at the end of 2018, the Cranbourne Football Club has sought and gained permission from AFL South East to negotiate with the MPNFL and member clubs to join their league in season 2019.”
The News understands that AFL Greater East is still in the frame for the Eagles as a contingency plan should the MPNFL clubs vote against them coming across.
Cranbourne believes that the MPNFL offers their best long-term option for playing in a competitive and stable competition.
“The Cranbourne Football Club believes it can add to the strength of the MPNFL with their diversity in members and strong supporter base following teams in seniors, under-19s, women’s, Superules, All Abilities, and netball with all training and competing at the great facilities Casey Fields has to offer.”
Kelly said his club had been on a long journey to this point, taking an “exhaustive look” at each of its options – including the Eastern Football League, Yarra Ranges, and the MPNFL.
“We plan to speak to all of the MPNFL clubs in the coming month and we hope they’ll be accepting of us because of our geographic situation, but also to help them form a third division.
“Obviously that’s needed down there with a couple of clubs that are struggling, which I’m sure would love to drop to a third tier.”
Kelly said the ball was now in the court of the MPNFL clubs.
“It’s up to them to make a decision, and we’ll see what happens after that,” he said.
“We’d love to be part of the MPNFL – that’s where we see our future.”