Clunes will play on in the Central Highlands Football League after winning its appeal against a shock AFL Goldfields recommendation.
An AFL Victoria Country appeals panel handed down its verdict on Friday, agreeing that the Magpies should be able to remain in their current home and not be forced to move to the nearby Maryborough Castlemaine District competition.
Clunes president Brendan Sheehan described the news as a “relief” and a “monkey off the back” for the club, which he said had never wanted to leave the CHFL.
“It is good just to get it out of the way and get on with the footy and netball this year,” he said.
“We can put it to bed now, move on and bring on the 2018 season.”
We can put it to bed now, move on and bring on the 2018 seasonClunes' Brendan Sheehan
Sheehan expected to have $1500 of the $2000 appeal payment returned to the club following the successful result, but wouldn’t rule out pursuing a full refund.
In December last year, AFL Goldfields recommended that Clunes be transferred out of the Central Highlands competition and to the Maryborough Castlemaine District league for the 2019 season.
This was one of the major findings from the exhaustive senior competition review.
In an earlier interview with The Courier, Sheehan said the saga surrounding the club’s future had impacted the Magpies’ ability to attract players and sponsors. Club volunteers had been tied up dealing with the shock review recommendation rather than key off-season tasks.
Sheehan said the Magpies never requested a move to the MCDFNL during the review process and that even if his club lost the appeal, it would not have given up on its bid to stay in the Central Highlands.