BFL: New breakaway league in east a 'genuine possibility'

A BREAKAWAY competition featuring the Ballarat Football League’s five eastern teams looms as a genuine possibility following a meeting between clubs from different leagues.

The idea to possibly form a new league further down the Western Highway has gathered momentum, while it is also proposed that a handful of BFL clubs could join the Riddell District Football League and form a two-tier competition.

In addition to the five eastern bloc teams (Bacchus Marsh, Darley, Melton, Melton South and Sunbury), two teams from the RDFL were also involved in a meeting on Tuesday night that addressed the future of those clubs in the league.

The meeting, organised by Sunbury, was the latest in a series of discussions initiated by the Lions that could see them leave the BFL in the coming years.

Although they have already committed to playing in the BFL in 2015, their future home remains in question.

If Sunbury was to leave the league, it is likely a number of other eastern clubs would follow suit.

Sunbury president Phil Lithgow said discussions were mainly theoretical at the moment, with no clubs in any rush to pack up and leave.

“Is there enough support for us to start our own league? That’s something we have to look at,” Lithgow said.

“It’s probably more likely than joining the RDFL at this stage.”

The latest meeting did not involve the Ballarat Football League or AFL Victoria officials, although Lithgow said the next step would be addressing those parties.

Clubs from the Essendon District Football League and Gisborne from the Bendigo Football League were also invited to the meeting, but were not in attendance due to differing circumstances.

However, Lithgow said there was definitely some interest among EDFL clubs, although Gisborne was said to be happy in the Bendigo league.

“From here, nothing else will probably happen before finals,” he said.

“There’s nothing of any urgency happening right now. It has always been just about talking about our options, there is nothing in concrete at all.”

Sunbury originally signalled its intention to possibly move away from the BFL in May and has since held a number of meetings with eastern bloc clubs.

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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