Australian rules: Amalgamation between Black Diamond AFL seniors and AFL Hunter Coast juniors voted down

STATUS QUO: Black Diamond AFL finals action from last year. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
STATUS QUO: Black Diamond AFL finals action from last year. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Australian rules governing bodies will continue to work towards a “single governance model” in the greater Hunter region from 2019 and beyond, but there will be no amalgamations this season.

AFL Hunter Coast juniors voted below the required 75 per cent on Sunday to join forces with the senior Black Diamond AFL, whose special general meeting on Monday about the same issue was consequentially cancelled. 

Both groups had to pass the motion for amalgamation between the separate entities to occur in 2018.

If successful, AFL NSW-ACT were to become the overall governing body of the two competitions with three full-time positions created. 

Despite the decision AFL Hunter Coast and Black Diamond AFL remain affiliated with AFL NSW-ACT until October 31.

“While we were disappointed this amalgamation didn’t eventuate for 2018, the large majority of junior clubs voted in favour of the proposal,” AFL NSW-ACT Northern NSW regional manager Simon Smyth said.

“It wasn’t quite the 75 per cent required, but 13 of the 19 clubs did vote that way which shows strong support for the idea and the obvious benefits. Those that voted no were comfortable with the current arrangement.

“So it will be business as usual for 2018 and now we will continue working with all the relevant parties to come up with the best possible model for next year.”

AFL NSW-ACT affiliation requirements will change from November 1, including amalgamated junior and senior competitions as well as board configurations. 

“The AFL, juniors and seniors will continue working towards a single governance model,” Black Diamond AFL operations manger Garry Burkinshaw said.

“But everything will be as per normal in 2018 with only three weeks until the start of the season.”

The Black Diamond AFL recently confirmed affiliation with AFL NSW-ACT for 2018 after introducing a player points system for all 11 first-grade clubs and scrapping last year’s controversial equalistaion policy.    

Black Diamond AFL seniors (April 7) and AFL Hunter Coast juniors (April 8) kick-off next month.