The Outer East Football Netball League has finalised its competitions divisional structure for season 2022, with a number of changes to take place across the divisions.
Following the recent departures of the Beaconsfield Football Club (to Eastern), Cranbourne Football Club and Doveton Football Netball Club (both to Southern), the Outer East commission confirmed 26 clubs will be onboard with the league into the new year, with three divisions to be played.
After heavy consultation with clubs via surveys, meetings and one-on-one consultations, the league has settled on its structure which will ensure minimal disruption would occur moving forward.
In the Premier Division, there will once again be nine football clubs, while Division One and Two will see seven football clubs in each competition.
While clubs were given three options under the three-divisional model, clubs voted for the 9,7,7 model for season 2022, with an 8,8,7 and 8,7,8 model under consideration.
Monbulk, Mount Evelyn and Officer/ROC have been promoted from Division One to Premier, while Yarra Glen will take the step up to Division One which is set to realign the club with some local rivalries.
While this will be uneven numbers, it will allow Beaconsfield and Berwick Netball Clubs to still compete and continue building towards an alignment with new football clubs from this large growth area in Premier Division and Division One respectively.
2022 Outer East Divisions
Olinda Ferny Creek
*Netball teams placed in the bye slot of the fixture
Outer East commercial and operations manager Cam Hutchinson explained that the changes were not too dissimilar to the structure of previous years.
“Our Premier Division will remain much the same as season 2021 with an 18 round season where each club will play the others twice, with two byes each, and the finals will be the top five system,” he said.
“Divisions One and Two will be interesting, as we will see each club play each other three times and have three byes over a 21-week season.
“The finals will be a three-week top four system and while it seems like a longer year, each club will play just 18 home and away games which is the same as we did a couple of years ago when we had a ten-team competition.”
Outer East is still finalising with clubs in the coming weeks the 2022 season starting dates, but are aiming to start as soon as possible in April of next year, given the amount of football and netball lost to lockdowns.
The senior competition fixtures for the new year will be released in early December following club feedback and requests.
Region general manager Aaron Bailey said it was a pleasing situation to settle the competition heading into next year, reiterating that it will provide clear stability moving forward.
“I’d like to thank all our senior clubs for their honesty, understanding and input into this process,” Bailey said.
“The Covid-19 situation has affected our whole community in so many ways, so making the required adjustments now and settling as much as possible for the future was a common sentiment amongst our clubs during our consultation with them.”