THE Bendigo Football-Netball League will retain a representative presence next year, with a clash against goldfields rivals Ballarat now locked in.
With the disbandment of AFL Victoria's Community Championships last month it was left up to leagues to pursue an inter-league match should they want to play a representative game.
Bendigo made it clear from the initial announcement by AFL Victoria that it was axing its Community Championships in 2020 that it was keen to pursue an opponent for next year and will reignite its rivalry with Ballarat in early May.
The goldfields tussle will be played on Saturday, May 2, at Ballarat - potentially the AFL-standard Mars Stadium - and feature senior and under-18 football, plus open and under-17 netball.
The day, which will be a general bye, coincides with Bendigo's Groovin' The Moo festival, which over the years has impacted player and volunteer numbers for clubs.
"The league is really happy that we can announce the match against our rivals in Ballarat," BFNL manager Cameron Tomlins said on Wednesday.
"Right from day one when we heard there were changes being made to inter-league we were really strong that we still wanted to participate in representative football and netball, so it's a great outcome."
The inter-league weekend comes after three rounds of the BFNL season, which will begin with five games on Good Friday, April 10.
With the inter-league fixture locked in against Ballarat, the next stage for the BFNL will be appointing its coaches.
The BFNL senior team was coached this year by Darryl Wilson, who oversaw a 99-point whitewash of Outer East at the QEO.
Wilson has returned to club coaching in 2020 at Strathfieldsaye alongside Shannon Geary.
"We've had some early discussions about coaches and we're a fair way down the track in regards to that, but not ready yet to make any announcements," Tomlins said.
"Hopefully, in the new year we'll have a full list of coaching announcements ready to go."
Bendigo and Ballarat last played inter-league in 2017. Bendigo won the open and under-17 netball and under-18 football, while Ballarat won the senior football.
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