Wudinna United and Central Eyre merging to form new club Central Eyre United

MERGER: Wudinna United and Central Eyre clashing during the 2019 Mid West football season. The two clubs will merge as Central Eyre United for the 2021 season, and join the Eastern Eyre league. Photo: Calise Holmes

MERGER: Wudinna United and Central Eyre clashing during the 2019 Mid West football season. The two clubs will merge as Central Eyre United for the 2021 season, and join the Eastern Eyre league. Photo: Calise Holmes

An agreement has been formalised for the merger of Mid West Football League and Mid West Netball Association clubs Wudinna United and Central Eyre.

The two clubs will come together for the 2021 season under the banner of Central Eyre United, but the new club's future lies away from the Mid West region.

The decision was finalised after meetings between the two clubs in recent days.

President of the now former Central Eyre club Jared Sampson said the move to amalgamate came about as both had struggled with numbers in recent years.

He said formal discussions started earlier this year, but informal talks had taken place throughout 2020.

"We were at the stage where the two clubs were seriously looking at what we offered our members in terms of participation," he said.

"We were struggling to provide junior footy due to a lack of numbers, and senior numbers were struggling as well.

"The formal discussions started with both clubs meeting and the consensus was discussions had to be had. The logical choice was to sit down - we live next to each other, our kids go to school together, we do business together."

Mr Sampson said there would be a general meeting on March 1 to elect the committee of the new club.

Mid West, which in the most recent season in 2019 had been a six-team competition in both sports, will become a four-team competition.

Mid West Football League president Matt Cook said talks about the makeup of the league were ongoing.

"The Mid West Football League is actively working on the situation," he said.

Mr Sampson said they would now pursue a future in the four-team Eastern Eyre Football League and Eastern Eyre Netball Association.

"At a meeting on Monday it was decided that we would pursue a future in Eastern Eyre and we will start the process now," he said.

The merger sees the Wudinna name fall away from use, more than a century after the town's first club was formed.

Wudinna United had formed in 1989 through the merger of Wudinna Football Club and United Football Club.

The creation of Central Eyre in 1987 had been the result of a merger between Kyancutta and Warramboo, with the former initially founded in 1918.

Mr Sampson said it had been disappointing to get to this stage, but it was done to ensure the survival of the sports in the region.

"We understood that merging would have various views, but it was a unanimous decision made by both clubs with support in the membership as to how things are panning out," he said.

"We have to move forward, and following the merger it will give us the ability to field four footy sides and strengthen both junior and senior netball."

The new club will play home matches at Wudinna, Kyancutta and Warramboo.

The SANFL's head of community football Lisa Faraci said both it and Netball SA would work closely with the new club, the Mid West Football League, Mid West Netball Association and Western Zone committee to ensure a successful outcome for football and netball in the region.

"Ultimately we are here to support leagues and clubs on the Eyre Peninsula through this transition to ensure football remains viable and everyone has the opportunity to play," she said.

This story Clubs agree to merger first appeared on West Coast Sentinel.