DISTANCE is the primary concern for club presidents weighing up whether to welcome Kaniva-Leeor United to the Horsham District Football Netball League next season.
Kaniva-Leeor will apply to join the league, as South Australian border restrictions effect their ability to recruit players and participate in the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara league.
As part of Kavnia-Leeor's application process, the existing 11 Horsham District league clubs are likely to be asked for their opinion on whether or not the Cougars should be welcomed.
Swifts president Ian O'Donnell said travel was "without doubt" the biggest concern.
The 180 kilometre journey from Stawell to Kaniva would take approximately two hours.
"You shouldn't push clubs away when they want to join our league, but the way the demographics of it all works, the distance does put pressure on our club," he said.
"We'd have to leave very early in the morning to get there, with the under-14s football and under-13s netball starting very early.
"You could be in a position of taking kids up there at 6am for them to only play one quarter. Parents will be asking, 'Is that worth it?'
"And for the seniors, we wouldn't be getting home until eight or nine o'clock at night. So we'd have to weigh all that up."
Mr O'Donnell added that some senior players already chose to play for the neighbouring Stawell Warriors in the Wimmera Football Netball League, rather than the Swifts, because there was less travel.
Mr O'Donnell said the news of Kaniva-Leeor's intentions came "out of the blue" and caught the Swifts by surprise.
He said the Swifts would require greater understanding of the club's position before supporting the transfer.
"There's a lot of water still to go under the bridge," he said.
"The news certainly took us by surprise, so it's going to take a bit of time to digest it all."
Natimuk United president Greg Radford said he would also like to hear more "clear reasons" for the move.
Mr Radford said Kaniva-Leeor's intention to move to the league for just a 12-month period was "less than ideal".
"If it's going to be a short term thing, selfishly you start to think, 'What's in it for us?'" he said.
"But obviously you don't want to see a local club folding because they can't get a team together, or they can't find a league.
"There's a lot to weigh up - Natimuk United certainly aren't making a decision at this point in time."
Mr Radford said another concern was the limited number of senior footballers and netballers in the Wimmera.
He said another that another club would make it more difficult for existing clubs to field competitive teams.
Jeparit-Rainbow president Jason Hutson said while the extra travel was a concern, keeping sport in the community was the highest priority.
"If we were in a similar position, we'd be hoping clubs would be in favour of us coming in," he said.
"So if that's the way it goes, then that's the way it goes. It can't be a bad thing - you're just adding another team to a strong league and a bit of extra travel.
"If you want to play football and netball, you've got to do that sort of thing."
Jeparit-Rainbow was in a similar position when they moved from the Mallee Football League to the HDFNL following the 2014 season.
Jeparit-Rainbow's move came after an AFL Wimmera-Mallee review and recommendation.
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