THE Bendigo Thunder’s ambition to play at the Victorian Women’s Football League’s highest level will face an acid test next weekend.
The Thunder has scheduled a practice match against premier division club Berwick at Woori Yallock on Sunday, September 1.
The result will help decide which division the Thunder should play in under a restructured VWFL competition in 2014.
Berwick finished second-last in the premier division this season, while the Thunder secured back-to-back north-west division flags in an undefeated campaign.
“It won’t all hinge on that game, but that will help give us a realistic insight into whether we’re even close or whether we just had no competition this year,” Thunder general manager Bianca Rinaldi said.
The current VWFL structure will be scrapped when AFL Victoria takes over the running of the competition on November 1.
A promotion and relegation system is an option on the table.
It could remove the need for top division clubs to have reserves teams – which has been a sticking point for the Thunder.
“Even if there is no reserves team we still need more players,” Rinaldi said.
“Our ambitions are definitely to have more than one side, but we have to make sure – and this is something that we’re incredibly conscious of – while being ambitious we have to do it properly.
“We have to do it in a way that is sustainable; we have to do it in a way that it benefits the girls. There will not be any rash decisions made.”
Rinaldi said the Thunder was set up partly to provide a pathway to the highest level of women’s football in Victoria.
“It’s always been the club’s intention, the club is ambitious. As a whole the club has always had its eyes on what we can do next.
“Most girls are in favour (of stepping up). At this point in time it’s still dealing with the grand final and everything else, but most are conscious that this has been the plan from the start.”