SMYTHESDALE is set to be the new name for Illabarook in the Central Highlands Football League next season.
Smythesdale Football and Netball Club is expected to be formally adopted as the name at the club’s annual meeting on Sunday.
Club president Nick Gray said a special meeting of members had voted in favour of the change.
“It is now a matter of rubber-stamping the recommendation,” he said.
The Smythesdale-based club’s name will not be the only change.
While retaining the Bulldogs as the mascot, they will also replace the jumper design of royal blue with a white vee to black, blue and white with diagonal stripes – resembling Port Adelaide’s former AFL guernsey.
Gray said a rebranding had been under consideration for some time with a view to revitalising all aspects of the club for the long-term future.
He said while the name Illabarook would always be integral to the club’s history, the general community found it hard to relate to.
Illabarook is a district south of Smythesdale near Cape Clear.
He said many people did not realise Illabarook football and netball had any direct links with Smythesdale, where it had played since 1999.
Gray said Smythesdale was the hub of a major growth area know generally as Woady Yaloak and taking in Haddon, Ross Creek, Scarsdale and Snake Valley.
He is confident the name change will help residents and businesses in the area relate better to the football club – giving the community greater ownership.
He said there were already signs of this with an influx of new sponsorship interests.
Gray said the club was also planning to build on the new branding by increasing its community involvement, particularly through primary schools in the area.
“Right now the signs are all good.
“We’re talking to a lot more potential recruits and we’ve attracted substantial support for our junior program,” he said.
Glen Tracey is the Bulldogs’ new coach.
Illabarook was formed in 1925 – the same time the Rokewood and Cape Clear Football Association came into being.
The Bulldogs left what had become the Carngham Football Association in 1937, joining the Western Plains league.
Illabarook played its last game at Illabarook in 1998 and in the next year moved to a new facility at Smythesdale to became part of the new Lexton Plains league, a merger of the Lexton and Western Plains leagues.
The disbanding of the LPFL saw Illabarook move to the Central Highlands league in 2011. It has won just one game in three seasons.