Riverland Football League in discussions for Mallee clubs to join its competition as a merged team

A country South Australian football league says it is open to providing a home for two football clubs left stranded after their competition collapsed last week.

Pinnaroo and Lameroo football and netballs clubs will consult with their members over the coming month regarding their future after the Mallee Football and Netball League (MFNL) folded on Friday.

The MFNL’s collapse came after four of its six member clubs voted to leave the competition and move to neighboring leagues.

Chairman of the neighboring Riverland Football League Mark Wright says his competition is willing to accept a merged Pinnaroo and Lameroo side in 2023, if it is what the Mallee clubs want.

A football player holding a ball stands in front of a crowd of supporters.
Mark Wright says discussions with Lameroo and Pinnaroo have intensified during the past two weeks. (Supplied: Grant Schwartzkopff)

“It’s very exciting for our league to expand to see another team in the competition, but I don’t know which way the Lameroo and Pinnaroo people are going to go,” he said.

“We’ve already crunched the numbers and they’d be able to fulfill what we need at this end with junior grades and certainly A and B grade (football), and the netball would be another scenario that we’d have to work towards .”

Decisions ahead for clubs

Both Pinnaroo and Lameroo will distribute surveys among their communities today before meetings are held on October 6 and club members vote on their future direction on October 17.

Pinnaroo Football Club President Wade Nickolls says the clubs are looking at moving to the RFL as one of three options.

A man wearing a blue and red football jumper holding onto a football.
The Mallee Football and Netball League will cease to exist next season after an exodus of clubs.(Supplied: Lesley Wisneske)

These include moving to other neighboring competitions, including the Murray Valley Football and Netball League, a new competition based in the Riverland, or the River Murray Football and Netball League, centered around Murray Bridge.

Mr Nickolls says a merger between the two clubs is likely.

“We’ve been talking for a couple of weeks because it’s been on the cards and we do look at each other as the two strongest towns in our area,” he said.

“We have a lot in common and we feel like we can work quite well together.”

Mr Nickolls added while the RFL was attractive due to having two senior football sides and a strong junior competition, there were negative considerations when it comes to netball.

A woman wearing a blue netball uniform holding a netball while a woman wearing a navy uniform tries to block a pass.
Some netball games in the Riverland are played on a Friday night, while others are played on Saturdays.(Supplied: Grant Schwartzkopff)

In the former MFNL, each club’s netball and football sides played together on the same day at the same location, while in the Riverland some games are played on different days.

Mr Wright said the RFL is open to working with the Riverland Netball Association to bring the two sports together in the region.

The Lameroo Football and Netball Club and RNA have been contacted for comment.

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