May 25, 2018 by admin
THE rumour mill has been swirling about a tiny badge on the left breast of the St Albans guernsey changing from the Western Region Football League’s red, white and blue to the Essendon District Football League’s red and black.
As one of the WRFL’s great clubs, formed in 1946 and with five division 1 premierships, the Saints would have rocked the foundations of football in the west had they accepted an invitation to cross to the EDFL.
Saints president Vern Ryan told the Weekly his club remained committed to the WRFL for the foreseeable future.
“We’ll definitely be playing in the WRFL – that’s 100 per cent,” he said.
The Saints would have done their members a disservice had they not listened to a proposal from the EDFL.
They had two meetings with delegates from the rival league and were not satisfied with the proposal that was put on the table.
Ryan said the EDFL’s firm stance that new clubs start in its lowest division – the third tier – was unacceptable for his club.
“There’s no way in hell I’m going to take this club to the Essendon district league and starting in the second division” he said.
“We hit the idea on the head straight away. If we started in the first [premier] division and got relegated, you can take that on the chin.”
While a move for the Saints is off the cards, Ryan was more than happy to float the idea of the EDFL and WRFL getting together to talk about a merger to make a super league on this side of the West Gate Bridge.
He said a marriage would make the all divisions more competitive and a top-tier that would rival any metropolitan football league for quality.
“You can take the best clubs of the EDFL and the best clubs of the WRFL and make it a Super 10,” he said. “You could have a really good league.”
In the meantime, the Saints have unfinished business to attend to in the WRFL. They endured an injury-interrupted season, running a disappointing seventh.
With finals off the agenda and safety assured by mid-season, the Saints got the jump on opposition clubs in their preparations for 2013, re-signing coach Ian Denny, football manager Robert Lamberti, all their required senior players and 21 of their talented crop of under-18s.
“We’ve put four months of preparation into next year already,” Ryan said.
The Saints are involved in talks with prospective recruits for next season.
The biggest of them all could be the return of one-time Essendon key position player Aaron Henneman.
Henneman, 31, who played 58 AFL games with the Bombers from 2000-06, left the Saints at the end of last season to play at Corowa-Rutherglen, but has indicated a desire to return to Melbourne, and the Saints are in the box seat for his signature.
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