Rams join WRFL


Harper Sercombe

The Western Rams are the Western Region Football League’s newest side.

WRFL clubs voted at its annual general meeting on Tuesday night to decide the fate of the struggling Rockbank-based team.

Member club’s of the league officially voted in the Rams which will enter both their football and netball operations into the league.

The club hasn’t won a senior football game since 2018 which prompted decision makers at the club to question whether it should seek an exit from the Riddell District Football League in October.

Rams’ president Stephan Lalli-Cafini said to be officially a part of the WRFL is a relief.

“It was a late decision to go but it was still two to three months of really, really hard work and close work with the WRFL,” he said.

“As soon as we got that nod it was certainly a weight of the shoulders.

“We’re super excited, we’ve been preparing as if we were going into the WRFL, we were uncertain about our future in the RDFL, player wise.

“So we went out and went hard to retain as many players as possible, but in saying that when speaking to new recruits it was based on going to the WRFL because it wasn’t worth saying we might go.

“It was here’s your contract, it’s a WRFL contract, if it doesn’t work out then you’re free to go and explore options elsewhere.

“So it’s definitely a lot less stressful now knowing that all the players are locked in.”

Lalli-Cafini said it is a bonus that the club has been able to gather enough numbers for two football sides for next year, something that he said they were confident of being able to do.

“We were confident that we would gather interest if we moved to the WRFL, now we’re there we’re confident that two teams and two really competitive teams, is what we’re after this year,” he said.

“It’s a year to build and a year to see where we’re at in our first year of divisional football since 1999.

“It’ll give us an opportunity to see where we are at as a club and where we need to improve going forward.”

Not only has the club locked in a lot of its playing list but it has also secured a senior and reserves coach. Experienced coach Ash Pritchard was announced as senior coach last month.

“We’re stoked with Ash, he’s got in and he’s started smashing his work out,” Lalli-Cafini said.

“Him and our ressies’ coach, Chris Arnold, working together is definitely going to be something to watch through the year, to see how our guys develop and develop under different coaches.

“Even with Christian Azzopardi jumping on board, he’s an osteopath and he’s jumped on board with our fitness side of things and injury management.

“We’re looking to make sure that their fit, strong and healthy next year as well.”

RDFNL chief executive Jordan Doyle said he was pleased to see the club find a new home and continue their club’s rich history.

‘’After two months of discussions with the Western Rams FNC Committee and the WRFL, the RDFNL are pleased that the Western Rams FNC have a future in the WRFL for 2024 and the club

leaves the RDFNL with our very best wishes for their short and long term future,” he said.

“The Rams committee outlined to the RDFNL in early October, that their netball program in 2024 would be a diminished version of what it had been previously and that the club was in no position to field the four mandatory teams that make up the football-netball competition.

“With that information and considering how strong the Rams’ netball program had been, the decision to move to the WRFL was somewhat of a logical one considering the struggles of the football teams over a long period of time.

“With that said, given the Club’s on field battles in football and minimal netball prospects for 2024, the league was in full support of this move and the Club leaves with the league’s best wishes.”