Due to just two clubs taking part in the Super League last year, anticipation could not be higher for the fully fledged return of Bendigo Bank Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara football.
The KNTFL covers more clubs, kilometres and people than any other competition in the region and this Saturday’s opening round will be a huge celebration across five different venues.
Unfortunately, the only negative is the reduction to 10 teams after Kaniva Leoor United announced it would not join the party this year due to border concerns.
Despite being forced to say farewell to a club for the first time since 2006, KNTFL president Peter McLellan said everyone was looking forward to kick off. “From talking to presidents, secretaries and delegates, I think the clubs are very keen,” he said. “We were a bit worried some clubs might miss people who enjoyed the year off, but everyone is just excited to get back playing football.”
McLallen added almost all goals leading into the season were ticked and all is set for a triumphant round 1. “I think everything is (going to plan) the salary cap is coming down and there were excellent numbers during training and the trial games,” he said. “We have juniors in almost every grade and the netball is tracking along well, so it is going to be a bumper first round.”
The KNTFL managed to build some momentum during a quiet 2020 with Mundulla winning both Limestone Coast Football League premierships. But McLellan said the big success was the staging of a full junior competition played all over the region.
“The juniors had a full season plus a couple of finals, so they ended up playing 11 weeks straight which was really good,” he said. “We thought if we could sacrifice the older ones that would be okay, but the younger ones could not miss out and they got to play even more football than other years.”
As a result of the competition scaling back to 10 clubs, all teams are in action each weekend with the infamous bye not required. Rules that differ to other competitions include no 6, 6, 6, while a third player can take part in ruck contests.
McLellan is looking forward to a great year of the KNTFL community reuniting on the football field. “People are just hungry for it because we had that year off,” he said. “Players are catching up with their mates and building comradery which is the secret to country football.
“We just wish everyone the best and hope people do what is instructed COVID wise because the more people helping out the better.”