Woady Yaloak Football Netball Club's attempt to join the Ballarat Football Netball League as an affiliated member club has been denied.
A special general meeting of the BFNL member clubs was held this week to address the club's hope of joining the league.
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The motion did not reach the required 75 per cent of votes from clubs to pass.
Woady Yaloak president Adam Liversage said it was a disappointing result for the club, who have built from the ground up over the past three years.
"Obviously extremely disappointed and quite taken back, surprised to a degree," he said.
"We thought we had the support of the majority of the clubs in the BFNL but it doesn't seem to be the case, so very disappointed."
In a statement on the league's website, the BFNL threw its support behind the club's inclusion.
"The board of the BFNL is disappointed in this outcome and endorses the inclusion of the club in the BFNL junior competition and fully support Woady Yallock FNC to be a member club of the league," it said.
"Woady Yallock FNC have presented a comprehensive plan for sustainability and integration within the BFNL and are to be congratulated on their foresight in planning to meet the needs of the league."
BFNL operations manager Shane Anwyl said Woady Yaloak's inclusion would help aid the league's growing number of participants.
"We have an extreme amount of interest in our competition at the moment across football and netball and it's particularly evident in juniors and we have clubs at the moment who are at capacity and they're looking to fill extra grades," he said.
"The evidence is there to support growth of the league and the way the competition is structured at the moment, the only way growth can occur is through the admittance of new clubs.
"Our game days on Sunday with our current junior format is at capacity so we can't enter additional teams.
"We've been working with (Woady Yaloak) over the last three years about them filling a need in the Ballarat-west growth corridor of the future growth that will occur out that way."
Anwyl said some clubs voiced concerns about Woady Yaloak's inclusion.
"There was some concerns there are some clubs that have not filled teams, they're not at our capped capacity," he said.
"Those views, while valid and are understandable, relate to other aspects and don't directly relate to Woady Yaloak and where their population is based and where the players are coming from.
"We see Woady Yaloak (complimenting) the existing clubs to build on the strength of the league.
"There is still opportunities for clubs who don't have full numbers ... to still be able to recruit players, it'll take hard work and it's on those clubs to keep putting in place measures to try and recruit to their club."
Liversage said the club was in a strong position to continue to build on its invitational season in the BFNL this year.
"We've got a ready-made under-11's team just from the numbers coming through from our under-9's from this season and we experienced really strong growth in our Auskick program which is run out of Haddon," he said.
"That's our main sort of feeding group there and we're almost ready-made for two under-9 teams already and we're into our second season of NetSetGO and had really strong numbers in that particular program as well."
He thanked those that had thrown their support behind Woady Yaloak.
"We'd like to thank obviously the BFNL and the board and Golden Plains Shire for the support," he said.
"I think it's also important to acknowledge the football clubs that have supported our affiliation and voted in our favour to be affiliated with the BFNL.
"Majority of the football clubs have been absolutely fantastic in giving us advice and direction and I think they've been really appreciative of what we've been able to bring to the table."
The BFNL is still working through how the club can be affiliated with the league in 2022, with an invitational season one of the options.
"They'll continue to do that (play in under-9's), their natural growth organically is now to play in the under-11 reserves in 2022 and that's what we'll work to facilitate with them," Anwyl said.
The league and Woady Yaloak will re-visit the issue post the 2022 season and see what the landscape is like then.
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