Farrer League throws out the challenge to take on Riverina League in representative fixture

Farrer League coach Ryan Forsyth at training this year.
Farrer League coach Ryan Forsyth at training this year.

Local rivalry could be reignited on the representative front next year if the Farrer League gets its wish and takes on the best in the Riverina League. 

Farrer League president David Oehm and reappointed coach Ryan Forsyth believe it’s the best next step for their team.

“I’ve always liked the idea of having a crack at the RFL because it would give us a good gauge as to where we’re at… they’re obviously the benchmark of football in southern NSW,” Oehm said.

Farrer League president David Oehm

Farrer League president David Oehm

Forsyth coached the Farrer League to victory against Victoria’s Ovens and King League this year, while the Riverina League was rolled by a red-hot Canberra side at Robertson Oval. 

He believes a fixture between the two local leagues would raise the stakes and generate serious interest. 

“When I was playing in the Farrer League it was always a big hype about an opportunity to play the RFL and it one game I really enjoyed,” Forsyth said.

He is keen to see his current players get the same opportunity.

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“I’m excited for whoever we cross paths with but I think it would create a lot of interest,” Forsyth said.

“There’s greater ramifications in it, with discussions about the better league and the better players in the leagues.”

The Riverina League had powerful wins against Victorian opposition in 2014 and 2015, but suffered a surprise loss to the Hume League in 2016, before this year’s to Canberra.

The Farrer League’s win this year was the second in three seasons on the representative scene. They broke a five-year drought against Picola in 2015, under Jason McPherson, before going down to Newcastle’s Black Diamond League last year.

Forsyth was rapt to take up a second season in the role.

“What impacted my experience most was the way the (club) coaches and players got on board and players made themselves available,” he said. 

“That, and the fact that we had a win, makes it a positive experience.

“It’s always exciting going down (to Victoria) – they love their footy, they’re good quality grounds and it’s an exciting challenge.

“After our loss the year before, personally I was really keen for us to make amends. And we’d played (Ovens and King League) before and got beaten so we wanted to make amends for that too. 

“Hopefully the same blokes put their hand up and we can challenge whoever we play next year.”

AFL House is in early discussions with a number of leagues about potential fixtures for next year.

The only guaranteed priority at this stage is making sure netball is as much a part of the program as football.