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By Nick Creely

Berwick is the latest club to officially vote towards a move into the proposed ‘AFL Greater East’, after seriously considering moving to the powerful Eastern Football League.

The reigning SEFNL premiers officially endorsed the move at a committee meeting at the club last night (Tuesday 12 June). Two weeks ago, an advisory committee made up of around 14 members of the club voted unanimously towards a move to AFL Yarra Ranges.

Wickers president Glenn Gambetta told the Gazette it’s a major relief to have it all over with.

“It took a lot of our attention, so it’s a real relief for us as a club,” he said.

“We can now finally get on with the future, and the overall running of our club.”

While Gambetta admits the Eastern option was always something they considered after meeting with league officials on a number of occasions, ultimately a number of factors came into play.

“The netball played a big part of it for us – if we go to Eastern, we lose that, and it’s just the safest option,” he said.

“The competition (AFL Greater East) will be just as competitive as an Eastern Division 2, so it’s less risk if we go.

“And we always wanted to keep that country football feel, and to make sure we keep our local rivalries alive.”

While Gambetta was pleased with what AFL Yarra Ranges had to offer, he opted to present all the information to the club’s members rather than have league officials come out to the club.

He explained that it was important for the club to look objectively in what was a massive decision for the future.

“I wanted to ensure it was a neutral discussion, and to state all the facts about both leagues objectively, rather than just a sales pitch,” he said.

“But we’d like to thank Eastern and AFL Yarra Ranges, they were both extremely fantastic to deal with, and highly professional.”

The Wickers will now move forward into the formal application process with AFL Yarra Ranges officials.

It comes after the news that Officer, Beaconsfield, Pakenham and Doveton have all officially made their intentions known of joining ‘AFL Greater East’.

Tooradin-Dalmore and Cranbourne are still exploring the options of joining West Gippsland and MPNFL respectively.

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