Historic club votes to skip 2023 season after floods
A historic country footy and netball club devastated by floods and player shortages will not field senior teams this year, in the hopes it can regroup in 2024.
The Corowa-Rutherglen Football Netball Club's facilities were completely inundated when floodwaters breached the Murray River's banks in November.
At a meeting on Monday night, a majority of members voted to forgo the 2023 season, while still fielding teams in the under-15s, under-17s and C-grade.
"We thank our members and sponsors for supporting the club's position despite the intense and ongoing efforts of our club volunteers to get teams together for 2023," club president Graham Hosier said in a statement.
Mr Hosier hinted that the club's future could be secured with a merger, but that these discussions were not yet taking place.
"As a board (we) will look at all avenues of continuing this great club as we are, however we must be open to all options available for the greater good of football and netball in the region," he said.
Secretary Rowena Black said the decision had not been taken lightly by the club, which has produced several AFL players and coaches.
"There were past players there who have been connected to the club for decades that ... had a tear in their eye, they were really heartbroken," Ms Black told ABC Radio.
Ms Black said shifting demographics in the NSW-Victoria border region had contributed to the decision.
"The population base is obviously ageing and ... we're really looking at how do we keep that young group of people in our area that want to play here," she said.
Ms Black said the club will contact sponsors that had signed up for two-year deals.
"We will definitely be going to them and having a conversation and saying, 'Look, we will ... pause the sponsorship this year and we would love to see you guys get back on board next year'," she said.
"Our sponsors are fantastic."
The club, formed in 1979 when the Corowa Spiders and Rutherglen Redlegs merged, was founded as the Border United Football Club in 1877, and has produced numerous VFL and AFL stars.
Former club players include Coleman Medallist and North Melbourne flag winner turned Sydney Swans premiership coach John Longmire, ex-Carlton coach David Teague, Collingwood premiership defender Mick Gayfer, and Carlton 201-gamer Ryan Houlihan.