Instead the club, which has been part of SDFA since 1985, will now be aligned with Football South Coast, in a decision that wasn’t made lightly by the Breakers committee.
“Informal discussions in regards to changing affiliation were had for many years, by members and past committees,” Gerringong Breakers president Javid Sadrnia said.
“The current club committee decided to facilitate discussions with our members post SDFA finals series and again during the club AGM, to have a better understanding of the club's position.
“Ultimately, we held a club vote for members to decide the club's future direction, resulting in the move to Illawarra and Football South Coast (FSC).”
While Sadrnia acknowledges how beneficial the SDFA competition has been for their club in the past, he knows for the club to continue to development as a whole, this move has to be made.
“There were numerous reasons for the move for FSC, none of which were a direct correlation to our on-field success in 2018,” he said.
“The club strongly believes by moving north we can hold onto our junior players, who traditionally detracted to northern clubs, and develop them in order to play senior football or provide the foundational pathway to higher levels of football.
“It also increases opportunity for all levels of football, with clearer junior pathways through FSC development initiatives (clinics, talent acquisition programs and development squads) and other elite pathways with Wollongong Wolves, Illawarra Stingrays and Sydney FC.”
Other reasons for the move include increased support and funding from the Kiama LGA – incorporating potential state and national grants, a more diverse competition for their players due to higher participation numbers in the Illawarra and overall increased resources for club events, such as the South Coast Sevens Football Competition.
While Sadrnia admits there are plenty of positives to come from the move, he appreciates that moves like this are never easy.
“It was always going to be a difficult decision, as the club has been very fortunate to be apart of the Shoalhaven for 34 years,” he said.
“SDFA enabled the Breakers to provide the Gerringong community with its very own football club, we are very grateful and appreciative of their support.
“There are a number of clubs with similar or smaller participation numbers who are thriving in the Illawarra.
“With great participation numbers at the Breakers and some very talented juniors, the move was a great opportunity to continue the growth of the club.
“Our club strives to provide an inclusive environment for our community to participate in football.
“We have always aimed to develop players and assist them in achieving their goals, wether it be kicking the ball for the first time or playing at the highest level possible.
“The supporting environment and culture within the club is a major reason why many of our players return to play for the Breakers.
“The consensus of members believed the club was in a great position on and off the field and voted accordingly to make the move now.”
Participation numbers back this up, with the Breakers having their largest numbers (310 players – 70 per cent which were juniors) in club history in 2018, thanks to a 30 per cent increase in women.
As such, the club’s men’s teams will start in Community League division one (first and reserve grade) and Community League division two (first and reserve), building towards gaining promotion into District League.
While their women will aim for division one or two, with teams also playing in lower grades, to cater for all their players.
On top of that, the club will have all junior ages (under 6s to under 18s) as well as over 35s and masters (overs 45s) teams take to the field in 2019.
“The FSC competition is home to more than 10,000 players and the large participation numbers provides a great opportunity for players to play with similar skill and experience levels at all ages,” Sadrnia said.
“The club can cater for all needs in a social and a competitive environment.
“Additionally, the club must reach set standards and prescribed guidelines to play at higher levels.
“We are working hard at establishing a youth (under 18-21s) team to enable pathways for our talented junior players to transition into senior football.
“The club can strive to improve facilities, player development and coaching as we aim to play and win in women's division one, District League and eventually Illawarra Premier League.
“It provides numerous opportunities to grow Breakers football.
“Lastly, it allows for greater community within the club.
“As games are played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, our juniors can interact with our men's and women's teams creating a greater club feel.
“Our junior girls can watch our very successful women's team, and have ambitions of playing with their role models.
“Teams are able to support each other throughout the weekend, adding to the family atmosphere we currently have at the club.
“Overall, it is exciting opportunity for the club, which we all feel will steer the club in the right direction moving forward.”