The continued growth of the Southern Football Netball League will see the competition expand to four senior divisions in 2018.
The move follows the official acceptance of Hampton Park FNC and Frankston Dolphins FNC into the SFNL earlier this week.
As part of the competition restructure, Division 3 will be split into two eight-team divisions based on each side’s final finishing position at the end of the 2017 season, inclusive of promotions and relegations.
The bottom six ranked sides in Division 3 will form the newly-created fourth division for next year, alongside Frankston Dolphins and Cerberus, who will return to senior divisional football after several years.
Hampton Park will compete in Division 3 next season, as will Springvale Districts and Heatherton following their recent relegation from Division 2.
Divisions 1 and 2 will be 10-team competitions in 2018.
SFNL General Manager - Operations, David Jennings, said the restructure was necessary to accommodate the growth of the League, as well as help ensure an even competition for all clubs.
“Moving to four divisions in 2018 is a significant shake up of the competition. As a League, we had to be diligent in weighing up the short and long-term benefits for both a club and as a collective,” Jennings said.
“Our aim is to make the competition more even and to promote the opportunity for more clubs to play finals. By going to four divisions it will establish the best possible environment for clubs to be sustainable and competitive.
“The restructure has also effectively catered for the introduction of both Hampton Park and the Frankston Dolphins, who join the League in 2018. Furthermore, we welcome Cerberus back to senior divisional football. It is an exciting time for the League.
The competition restructure was the result of a lengthy consultation process with SFNL Member Clubs, which included the circulation of a discussion paper, facilitation of a forum and the distribution of a survey.
In addition, the League conducted extensive industry research, with invaluable guidance provided by the Chief Executive Officers of the Eastern Football League and Western Region Football League, both of which have recently undergone a similar competition restructure process.
See the final make up of each of the four senior divisions below.
DIVISION 1 (10 teams)
St Kilda City
Port Melbourne Colts
DIVISION 2 (10 teams)
DIVISION 3 (8 teams)