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No interleague for BFL

The BFL celebrates last year’s win over Heathcote and District. (Marcel Berens Sports Photography Image/Marcel Berens)

DESPITE the best efforts of AFL Barwon to find an interleague opponent, the Bellarine’s best footballers won’t get the chance to test themselves at the next level in 2017.

After a comfortable win over Heathcote and District in Mark Hildebrandt’s second year as coach, the BFL were drawn to play Sunraysia on May 13 as it looked to climb the AFL Victoria Community Championships rankings.

However, the Mildura-based league withdrew last month, citing cost as a key factor.

“We tried hard, we looked everywhere, we thought were close a few times,” region boss Lee Hartman said.

“But after speaking with the clubs, we’ve decided to pull the pin for this year, which is very disappointing with the momentum we’ve gained over the last couple of years with the work that Mark’s done with the team.

“Unfortunately Sunraysia burnt us. We had some good conversations with Melbourne metro leagues for their lower leagues … division two and three.

“Some got close, but in the end, logistically, it just didn’t work out.”

With an influx of talent into the BFL, including the returns of Mitch Herbison and Ben Raidme to Barwon Heads and Torquay respectively, and the arrival of the likes of Brent Macleod at Ocean Grove and Guy O”Keefe at Portarington, Hartman is disappointed the Sharks won’t get to showcase the league’s talent.

“It would have been the best side we’ve put out, probably, just about ever,” he said.

“It’s going to be a very strong comp this year.

“The players that have come down are all quality players.

“I know speaking to some of them personally who have played GFL Interleague were looking forward to it, so that is disappointing, and we’ve just got to hope we get the momentum back for next year when we move up the rankings if it’s not the regionalised concept.”

Twitter: @tom_king79