BFNL Interleague program deferred until 2022

The Bendigo Football Netball League is disappointed that it will not be participating in Interleague football and netball during season 2021.

However, the BFNL can confirm that it is committed to enter both 17 & Under and Open netball teams into the annual 2021 Netball Victoria Association Championships tournament, provided the event proceeds as planned.

The BFNL holds Interleague participation in high regard as an opportunity for players from affiliated clubs to test themselves at the highest level of competition possible, to receive additional developmental opportunities, to play alongside regular opponents and to receive the honour of representing their League.

With a rich history of representative football and netball, the League have been working hard to further build this in recent years under the old AFL Victoria Community Championships rankings system, culminating in 2019 with a comprehensive and dominant clean sweep of football and netball matches played against AFL Outer East at the QEO.

Prior to the 2020 season being abandoned and under a new Interleague format (moving away from an AFL Vic governed ranking system), the BFNL successfully negotiated with the Ballarat FNL to reignite our Goldfields rivalry with a series of junior and senior football and netball matches scheduled to be played at Mars Stadium early last season. Unfortunately, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, these matches were also unable to proceed.

For some months now, the BFNL have attempted to find a suitable major league opponent to schedule 2021 football and netball Interleague matches against, provided it could be coordinated in a safe and cost-effective manner.

Unfortunately, the BFNL were unable to source a suitable opponent such as Ballarat, and therefore have made the difficult decision to defer the Interleague program until season 2022.

Many Leagues and clubs are still navigating the financial effects of not competing in 2020, whilst approaching a 2021 season that still poses various challenges and levels of uncertainty.

The League remains committed to fully supporting affiliated clubs as we eagerly, yet cautiously, return to local competition in season 2021.

BFNL Manager, Cameron Tomlins, said, “Whilst Interleague participation has been deferred for season 2021 as we seek stability following abandoned 2020 seasons and whilst adjusting to a COVID-normal competition, the League have already commenced negotiations with potential 2022 Interleague opponents.” 

“Interleague participation is important to the League, and similar to this off-season, we will investigate every opportunity possible to return to representative competition in season 2022”.

Workforce XS will continue their long-standing association with the BFNL representative teams, once again being confirmed as the major sponsor of all competing BFNL Netball Victoria Association Championships teams in 2021. The League welcome Harmac homes, who will likewise support our representative teams for season 2021, along with becoming the naming rights sponsor of the 2021 Reserves football competition.

Further announcements will be made regarding the confirmation of the 2021 BFNL fixture excluding the Interleague program, and the appointment of 2021 representative netball coaches in the coming weeks.

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