It is official — the Benalla Saints women’s team has a competition to play in this season.
The Saints are one of eight teams that will contest the MBCM Northern Country Women’s League, run in partnership by AFL regional commissions Goulburn Murray, Central Victoria and Central Murray.
The teams that will battle it out on the field this year are the Saints, Bendigo Thunder, Echuca, Kerang, Kyneton, Mooroopna, North Bendigo, and Shepparton.
MBCM Strata Specialists have been named as the major partner for the women’s league, which will be officially called the MBCM Northern Country Women’s League for at least the next two years.
A new league logo will also be released this week and will be the official emblem of the new competition.
Interim Saints women’s head coach Luke Morgan said it is exciting for the club and the players to know their future for at least the next two seasons.
‘‘It is (exciting), we’ve looked at making a team for a while, and it’s a new league, so it’s exciting for the club and for the women of the region,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘Our goal now is just to maintain that interest... if it gets bigger and better every week that can only be a good thing.’’
The Saints are awaiting more information from the GVFL regarding fixtures and structure of the league before committing to finding a coach for the side.
AFL Goulburn Murray Region general manager Martin Gleeson congratulated all eight clubs on embracing female football.
‘‘We have had a great response to the new competition and it’s exciting that we will have an eight-team league up and going in the first year.
‘‘Experienced club administrator Sharon O’Dwyer has been appointed as the league’s administrator and she will be based in our office at Kialla Park as the main operations contact.
‘‘One of Sharon’s first tasks will be to put together a fixture, which will be presented to clubs for feedback and comment at the first meeting (this) week.
‘‘I would also like to acknowledge the support from the Australian Sports Foundation in being a major contributor in getting the League up and going.’’