Kangaroos take more than their share of AFL’s cake

Jeff Dowsing Roar Pro

By Jeff Dowsing, Jeff Dowsing is a Roar Pro

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    “To think that a club – because it has only 35,000 or 40,000 members should be relocated – is just not sniffing reality.”

    So said North Melbourne’s CEO Eugene Arocca this week in the latest attempt to reassure supporters the Kangaroos aren’t going anywhere (many have resigned themselves to this for some time now).

    I’m not sure what Arocca and his administration are sniffing, because it’s becoming harder and harder to fathom just what North Melbourne represents, or where it’s headed.

    When the club spurned the opportunity to guarantee their long term future by taking the AFL’s $100m carrot to relocate to the Gold Coast, I for one respected the ‘we’re North Melbourne or we’re nothing’ stance (which duly separated the club from some long time benefactors).

    And it was somewhat surprising given the club, regarded for its innovation, had previously foregone the North Melbourne name for the ubiquitous freedom of the Kangaroos moniker, playing ‘home’ games everywhere in Australia it seemed but Kangaroo Island.

    Of course, as we’ve seen recently with the captain of the submerged Costa Concordia, no one wants to be at the helm when a ship carrying thousands of passengers actually sinks.

    So we probably shouldn’t be too surprised at renewed attempts to make ends meet via controversial deals in far off places.

    But just to be clear, once again North Melbourne have ruled out relocation, despite a $5.4m three year deal to play a couple games a season at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval (now Blundstone Arena – the $22m redevelopment must elevate it to the curious ‘arena’ status).

    And then there’s the $228,000 grant from the Ballarat City Council to facilitate practice matches at Eureka Stadium. I suppose at least given a little latitude Ballarat is technically ‘north’ of Melbourne.

    The most contentious financial assistance comes via the AFL, especially when the Gold Coast edict from former North Melbourne player-cum-AFL boss Andrew Demetriou was ‘this is your final lifeline’.

    Personally I don’t like to see football clubs with such rich histories fade away. And the morality of letting that happen whilst pumping millions upon millions into new franchises which may take decades to stand alone (if not fall over) is tough to defend.

    But NESW Melbourne had their chance. By not going to the Gold Coast they engendered a bloated 18 club competition.

    Now burdened by a $5m debt, they’re still leaning on others, including the AFL, to keep them above water. And by again spreading themselves around they risk further diluting their tenuous link to their North Melbourne brand which still holds some cache.

    The simple fact of the matter, and it’s been the case for decades now, is that there’s just too many clubs in Melbourne. There must come a time soon when the AFL and the financially viable clubs’ patience will run out.

    North must wish the Hawthorn road block in Tasmania went away, for it must surely be the next and final destination.

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    The Crowd Says (90)

    • Roar Guru

      January 20th 2012 @ 8:19am
      MyLeftFoot said | January 20th 2012 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      Interested in the views of a North Melb supporter?

      This article is ridiculously unfair and misses the point on a couple of issues.

      North Melbourne do not operate in a vacuum. And so, how is North playing 2 games a year for 3 years in Hobart so shocking? Hawthorn is in Launceston. We know until the AFL buys out Etihad that there’s ordinary returns for clubs there – and the economics of a 22,000 attendance at Etihad generating a loss when compared to a 22,000 crowd at Geelong generating a $400-$600K profit. It really just makes absolute sense for North to seek to play a couple of games (esp against interstaters) somewhere else.

      North is seeking Ballarat, and was seeking Ballarat as option A. The previous Brumby state govt had made a commitment which the Ballieau Govt didn’t. So, Ballarat is moving more slowly. Ballarat has the obvious synergy with the North VFL alignment with North Ballarat that has delivered 3 premierships in 2008-2010. It would only be good for footy if a decent ’boutique’ venue existed somewhere in the Ballarat-Bendigo region that could host NAB cup matches and a couple of regular AFL matches each year. And, too – perhaps a better venue for the odd cricket WC match.

      The Gold Coast option – well, yep, that’s old news now. Personally I supported North going for it (GC), but, I think I prefer the GC option of the ‘home grown’ Suns rather than a transplanted North. For North, they went through an ‘aimless’ phase after being very innovative. It became a bit of a dogs breakfast. But, the ’90s saw people dally with ‘generic’ marketing. The problem is – ‘generic’ becomes meaningless. ‘Kangaroos’…..sell that North of the Murrumbidgee and it’s the ‘national’ RL team. But – North Melbourne…..that’s no more or less marketable than Manchester United……..(if starting from the same ‘base’, i.e. it’s just a location name).

      And, while North get’s shafted from Friday nights and FTA – it’s the AFL’s obligation to distribute central revenue fairly and that includes compensation to clubs given an effective marketing/sponsorship handicap by way of ‘invisible’ fixturing.

      • January 21st 2012 @ 11:49pm
        screamer said | January 21st 2012 @ 11:49pm | ! Report

        I’m not a North Melbourne supporter and I think this is a terrible article. Some people want to cut the lowest branches for no other reason than they have a pruning saw. If it wasn’t North Melbourne it would be the Bulldogs, if it wasn’t the Bulldogs it would be Melbourne, if it wasn’t Melbourne it would be StKilda, and so on all the way up to Collingwood.

        People should look at the real picture instead of the adolescent fantasies of an idealized football league. It makes no economic sense to move a club from a market that is growing in population by half a Hobart every year, to a market with a much smaller economy and fewer sponsorship opportunities.

        I know some Tasmanian lobbyists like to pretend that the whole of Tasmania is going to drive across the state to watch a Tasmanian team play every second seek, but I’d wager good money that won’t happen once the initial buzz dies down. Especially when the venues are poor and have poor facilities and the sport runs in the middle of winter and it’s the coldest state in Australia.

        What Tasmania gets from the AFL now is realistically the best outcome. The bulk of the financial burden of running North Melbourne and Hawthorn is borne in Victoria. A permanent Tasmanian team would struggle for attention and money, would rely on government bail outs and would leave people wondering how they made such an epic mistake. Even worse, the rest of the AFL would be accelerating away from them.

        North Melbourne is not taking more than it’s fair share, they’ve been paying into AFL instructure for longer than some “rich” clubs. Their money helped build Waverley, their money is helping pay for the Docklands. Where is the morality of effectively killing them and stealing their investment? North Melbourne’s major problem at the moment is a poor stadium deal, but eventually that stadium deal will expire and the AFL will own the stadium.

        North Melbourne have a much brighter future in Melbourne than they would have in Tasmania. The comparable area in Victoria covers ten times the population of Tasmania, has much better transport infrastructure, a weather proof stadium, first class training facilities and most importantly a proven audience, why in hell would you trade that for Tasmania?

        We all know the fortunes of football clubs come and go, and crowd averages are heavily affected by fixturing and performance. North Melbourne could easily have a few good years and be pushing a 40k average and everyone would turn their attention to the next miserable club to kill. Some people love to ride clubs when their down because it suits their own selfish ambitions. I ask you though, what would it really achieve to send North Melbourne packing, apart from destroying tens of thousands of fans interest in the game?

    • Roar Guru

      January 20th 2012 @ 8:32am
      Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      I can only agree and have made similar points on the Roar and Bigfooty where I was banned from the Nth Melb board for life 🙂 Precious little souls.

      The facts are there. The AFL would still be a 16 team if Norf had gone to the GC. Expansion could have been accomplished without the risk of spreading the player talent and creating short term uncompetitive sides. In the long term it should work out but it is a far riskier course for the game.

      The latest statement by Arocca makes no sense, on one hand he says North Melbourne aren’t going anywhere and on the other they have split their games between Etihad, Blundstone & Eureka!

      That said, I don’t mind the Tassie deal or playing in regional Ballarat its good for the game but North need to make it work and commit long term. If they still cant survive then relocate as apart from Flinders Island I don’t what other options they have to sell home games.

      Last chance I reckon.

      • January 20th 2012 @ 9:03am
        TomC said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        Redb, you went on a North Melbourne board and started pronouncing that they should fold? I would seriously hope that you were banned. That’s pretty damn rude.

        Not sure who Jeff follows, but as a former FItzroy fan I’m here to tell you that there are few things more soul shattering than having you footy team taken away. Fans of teams like Essendon and Collingwood don’t even have to think about what that must feel like, but when it’s close to a reality you fight like mad to stop it.

        So I don’t begrudge North Melbourne management and fans doing or saying anything that might keep their team around a little longer.

        • Roar Guru

          January 20th 2012 @ 9:13am
          Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:13am | ! Report

          I was made aware that my comments about Nth Melb on this site were repeated on Bigfooty’s Nth Melb board, I went onto the Board to open the discussion and debate them … Nothing rude about it, except the way the North Melb moderators couldn’t handle it. Get your facts right.

          Don’t have a go at Ess or Coll fans, I’m talking with the big picture AFL hat on. We all might pay for North’s nomadic reluctance.

          • January 20th 2012 @ 9:57am
            TomC said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

            To be fair, Redb, I based my comments off your own post. Make it a bit clearer if you want people to ‘get their facts right’.

            And I’m not having a go at Essendon and Collingwood fans. Or fans of any club. Just pointing out that they’ll necessarily have a different perspective than those of us who had to fight for our club’s existence.

            • Roar Guru

              January 20th 2012 @ 10:05am
              Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:05am | ! Report

              To be fair TomC, ask for more facts before declaring someone rude.

              I appreciate the difference, however as I said with the big AFL hat on its a helicopter view of the competition and all teams.

              • January 20th 2012 @ 10:20am
                TomC said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:20am | ! Report

                No. I still think it’s rude. I’m not walking away from that at all.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 10:21am
                Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:21am | ! Report

                Good for you.

              • January 20th 2012 @ 5:42pm
                Nathan of Perth said | January 20th 2012 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                But you are rude. You of all people know that! 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 5:46pm
                The Cattery said | January 20th 2012 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

                Actually…you are a rude bugger!!

              • January 22nd 2012 @ 2:13pm
                Dingo said | January 22nd 2012 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                Rudeb 😉

        • Roar Pro

          January 20th 2012 @ 9:42am
          Jeff Dowsing said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          Hi Tom. I actually wrote the Roy Boys Rebooted feature for Inside Sport a couple years ago and I really do feel for supporters of clubs such as Fitzroy & North.

          Fitzroy’s long time post-AFL secretary admitted there were several opportunities the Lions turned their back on that would have seen their club continue as a (powerful) AFL entity in which it called the shots. He also said that realistically they had been a VFA club struggling to compete in the VFL since WW2. So whilst it was a rather disgusting and opportunistic handling by the AFL of their last rites, and subsequent poor treatment of Melbourne based supporters by its so-called merger ‘partner’ ever since, Fitzroy administrators of the 1980’s – 1990’s who (understandably) clung on for dear life ultimately did the club a disservice.

          It would seem North have made the same mistake – and the stalwarts who abandoned the club when Brayshaw came in knew it was time to make the hard call. So whilst the money is there to continue to prop them up, there comes a point when one must question why it should be at the cost of the AFL, other clubs and the wider community (eg Ballarat taxpayers) when the club’s administration ignored the economic reality of its plight and the massive opportunity it was given.

          • January 20th 2012 @ 9:54am
            stabpass said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:54am | ! Report

            I would imagine that North will not be allowed to fail because the game can ill afford to lose a couple of hundred thousands fans, how many Fitzroy fans now barrack for another team ?.

            • January 20th 2012 @ 2:31pm
              JamesP said | January 20th 2012 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

              I think a couple of hundred thousand fans is a bit of a stretch. Lets talk paid up members and regular supporters.

              Both the Lions and the Swans get excellent support in Melbourne. You don’t need to be Einstein to figure out why that is. At the end of the day, the AFL will not be much poorer if the Roos pack up and go to Tasmania. Fiancially, it would be better off for the club, the other AFL clubs and the AFL as a whole.

              • January 20th 2012 @ 10:38pm
                Stabpass said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:38pm | ! Report

                A couple of hundred thousand fans is not a stretch, if the club was to close the doors tomorrow, a big clump of these fans would be lost, they may support the club through a variety of reasons, they may never buy a membership, go to a game, buy a jumper, or even watch or listen to games reguarly, or at different times in their lives even care, but once a club is gone , you lose these fans.

                Fitzroy now is a amatuer club, quite a big amatuer club, but in no way does it have a anywhere near the fan base it once had, tens of thousands of people now find other things to do on the weekend now, they support a club, not a code.

          • January 20th 2012 @ 10:18am
            TomC said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            I’m not sure which opportunities you’re talking about specifically, but the most significant ones I’ve heard of involved relocations to Sydney or Brisbane in the 80s, or merger with Melbourne. Ultimately, though, it’s hard for footy people to accept that their club has to move cities, or be subsumed into a rival club. The identity of the team is never the same again after that.

            I don’t think even hardcore Fitzroy fans could deny that their financial plight was mostly of it’s own making. That said, I don’t think anyone could deny that any chance the club had of surviving was undermined by the VFL/AFL.

            Struggling AFL clubs are in a bind. On the one hand they want to make sensible, objective business decisions. On the other hand they’re supposed to be representing the interests of a passionate, one-eyed fan base. Not every decision will make perfect commercial sense, especially when it involves the identity of the club.

            I think if the AFL does in the future decide to stop propping up struggling clubs, it needs a set of clear benchmarks for when this happens. Minimum revenues, for example. Or projected growth. This gets complicated by the fact that the fixture is drawn up to maximise attendances for the bigger clubs.

            • Roar Guru

              January 20th 2012 @ 10:36am
              Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:36am | ! Report

              My understanding is that the AFL already sets financial benchmarks for each of the clubs.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 10:42am
                The_Wookie said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:42am | ! Report

                There are absolutely benchmarks, and if you go down far enough the AFl starts putting auditors on the board to examine and if necessary, control expenditure. Theres been a fewe clubs with an AFL dude in the background in the last decade watching over the finances. Carlton included.

            • Roar Pro

              January 20th 2012 @ 12:39pm
              Jeff Dowsing said | January 20th 2012 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

              Fitzroy’s earlier relocation opportunities to Sydney then Brisbane would have seen them retain a stronger sense of continuity and identity, as per South Melbourne > Sydney Swans. Fitzroy could have been the Brisbane club before the Bears were created. Ironically it was the Brisbane Bears who a decade later basically bought what historical bits and pieces were valuable to create a more compelling sense of history and club culture.


    • Roar Guru

      January 20th 2012 @ 9:13am
      The_Wookie said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      Theres enough funds in Victoria for everyone, if you can stop making 3 or 4 clubs into powerhouses with big gates, exposure andequalise some stadium arrangements theres absolutely no reason why all the clubs cant exist on 40 million a year each. But no, you’ve got a couple of clubs in the 50s (and one in the 70s) while 2 languish at the bottom, one mainly because they are in a fairly poverty stricken area, and one that has struggled for an identity since the 1920s.

      • Roar Guru

        January 20th 2012 @ 9:20am
        The Cattery said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        I agree with this basic view, there are enough resources in Victoria to fund 10 clubs adequately. With a salary cap and draft, it’s pointless having a club like Collingwood accumulate tens of millions of dollars in surpluses which can’t be used except to fund endless trips to Arizona.

        I draw a slightly different conclusion from North spurning the $100 mill to move permanently to the Gold coast. It forced the AFL’s hand to something that needed to be done, and take the gamble on second teams in Qld and Sydney that will belong to the respective populations.

        • Roar Guru

          January 20th 2012 @ 9:53am
          The_Wookie said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:53am | ! Report

          Ok yes they got a 100 million deal, but it would very much have been similar to the fitzroy merger with brisbane in all but name. I can see why they refused. That doesnt mean I approve of them adopting what has essentially been a scorched earth policy in Sydney, Canberra and the Gold Coast. If you listen to Arocca, it doesnt sound like they are committed to Tassie either – its a holdover until Ballarat comes about.

          • Roar Guru

            January 20th 2012 @ 10:04am
            Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            How is it similiar to Brisbane and Fitzroy, the Bears were an existing club in Brisbane. The proposed North offer was a full relocation and change to the Gold Coast Kangaroos, the whole club would move and merge with no-one.

            • Roar Guru

              January 20th 2012 @ 10:18am
              The_Wookie said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:18am | ! Report

              The biggest issue with Fitzroy was loss of identity. Gold Coast would no longer not just be in Melbourne but would have no longer been North Melbourne. it would not have been run by North people. The similarity comes from a total loss of identity North people in Melbourne would have had, as Fitzroy did.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 10:26am
                Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:26am | ! Report

                Thats the true but perhaps not as dramatic as poor ol’ Fitzroy.

                The bottom line is emotion dictates they should stay, logic and sustainability are another question. A relatively small part of Melbourne is not likely to be a player on the National Stage. They were too starved of success for so long, entered in the VFL in 1925, didnt win for 50 years. Therefore missed out on the bandwagon factor for two generations.

                Things change, Kodak just went out of business, they were worth $30 billion a decade ago. Killed by the digital age.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 10:46am
                The_Wookie said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:46am | ! Report

                If we can sustain a low cost model in GWS and Gold Coast with clean stadia, and educational programs – as has already been shown in Tasmania, you CAN make a crap load of money off a small crowd – then theres no reason to believe North couldnt be a budget alternative in Ballarat.

                Theres just one problem. Department expenditures to keep up woth the Pies and Cats will kill North and the Bulldogs and possibly even the Saints. North are saying that they need to boost the football department so the crowds come back when they start winning again, but I dont honestly believe that they ever had those crowds to begin with lol.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 4:24pm
                Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                “Theres just one problem. Department expenditures to keep up woth the Pies and Cats will kill North and the Bulldogs and possibly even the Saints. North are saying that they need to boost the football department so the crowds come back when they start winning again, but I dont honestly believe that they ever had those crowds to begin with lol.”

                That’s what I’m saying, maybe North Melb isn’t big enough to be a team in the AFL. I’m really against this often mooted concept that football department spending needs to be paired back, that innovation be thwarted because others cant keep up. The AFL is the elite competition, the clubs need to keep improving and evolving.

                Is there room for North Melb in the VFL, would that be a better long term solution than relocation?

          • January 25th 2012 @ 10:18pm
            Fitzy said | January 25th 2012 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

            What I would really like to know is long term what is their future?, I remember the keep Sth at Sth campaign, the fight the Fitzroy faithful put up but in the end it amounted to nought. Will the AFL reveal their hand in 3-4 years time while they see the divide between the powerhouse clubs and the poorer clubs increase? It is like that bad 80’s scary movie that is popping up on tv every 6 months. IMO the die has been cast, the AFL just wanted to get moving on GC and GWS without a big fight. When Fitzroy ended they were on their knees, when Sydney moved they were broke, isn’t it just a waiting game by the AFL. I don’t know what the answer is but I really feel for the Nth supporters, tough times ahead.

      • Roar Guru

        January 20th 2012 @ 9:20am
        Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        Your footprint is your footprint. North’s is just too small, despite dominating the late 1990’s they were never able to take advantage of a large latent fanbase like most other clubs.

        God help us if Richmond fire this season.

        • Roar Guru

          January 20th 2012 @ 9:55am
          The_Wookie said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          I do think there is cause for complaint with the big clubs guaranteed blockbusters. That should never have been allowed to happen. And yes if the Tigers finally fire up we may never hear the end of it

          • Roar Guru

            January 20th 2012 @ 10:01am
            Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            Disagree. It’s a circular argument. The blockbusters are blockbusters because the big clubs are involved. The sniping by other clubs reeks of jealousy and the grass is always greener mentality.

            Footprints don’t change dramatically and North’s has never been big. If you designed an AFL competition from scratch, North Melb would be the first to go. The Bulldogs represents the West I’d keep them in front of North Melb.

            • Roar Guru

              January 20th 2012 @ 10:23am
              The_Wookie said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:23am | ! Report

              Its not a circular argument at all. Im of the firm opinion that what saved the VFl in the 80s, is what started killing the smaller clubs in the 90s.

              Bigger clubs get return matches against high drawing oponents on the MCG. North and the Bulldogs will get Gold Coast, GWS, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and probably each other. If Carlton play North Melbourne or god forbid hawthorn twice a year, thats going to be a blockbuster, Carlton are pulling more than anyone except Collingwood at the moment, including your beloved Bombers. If Essendon play GWS or Gold Coast twice thats a boost for the competition as a whole. Blockbusters could more accurately be described as any match involving a big 3 (Collingwood, Carlton, Essendon) versus anyone, especially in Melbourne.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 10:33am
                Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:33am | ! Report

                So are you suggesting the Big 3 should play GC and GWS twice and not each other? The fans of these clubs thrive on the big games, its giving the fans what they want and its not GC and GWS or North, Port,etc.

                The draw is uneven regardless of who plays who, you may as well please more of the fans more of the time and make money for the game at the same time.

                Cartlon (top 4/5) were just ahead of Essendon (top 8/9) on home attendance (just) last year but behind Essendon on members despite Essendon being a rung group below on the ladder.

              • January 20th 2012 @ 10:39am
                Ian Whitchurch said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                Redb said

                “The draw is uneven regardless of who plays who, you may as well please more of the fans more of the time and make money for the game at the same time.”

                And if you then split this money with the not-as-popular clubs, guaranteeing them enough money to be compeititve, provided they are trying to better their fortunes, then we have the AFL’s current plan.

                This isnt quite Football Socialism, but it’s certainly Football Social Democracy.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 10:50am
                The_Wookie said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:50am | ! Report

                Actually Redb, the AFL audit put us ahead of you on members as well…and for the second year running I might add.

                And Im suggesting that either the draw is worked out so all clubs play each other once, and then either randomise it or run it again over the next season or two. This might be partly because at Carlton we dont really care about blockbusters that much (and Ill note we’ve been trying to get one with North for Good Friday for years). We arent doing the Dreamtime, or Anzac Day or Pink lady day thingy matches or the Queens Birthday or Independence day or any of that stuff. Id be more than pleased if we started playing more teams more often.

                THATS seeing a bigger picture.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2012 @ 11:50am
                Redb said | January 20th 2012 @ 11:50am | ! Report

                Just because Carlton don’t value the blockbusters is Carlton’s problem. As for the membership numbers I’ll take your word for it, but I bet it was close and given Essendon is nowhere near Carlton on the success curve we will beat you soon enough.

                We are well in front already in 2012. 🙂

              • January 29th 2012 @ 3:13pm
                Jaredsbro said | January 29th 2012 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

                Redb as usual interesting points, but unfortunately that attitude of pro-success over pro-stimulation is exactly one of the problems facing wider Responsible Capitalism at the moment! Instead of helping out, surely the end of your logic is the trickle-down theory…is it?

    • January 20th 2012 @ 9:41am
      stabpass said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      I dont think Norths footbprint is small at all, just small in comparison to other AFL teams, they have quite a large passionate supporter base here in the west, and are now looking at Tassie and Ballarat etc for growth.

      The homegrown teams in GC and GWS are better for North not moving

    • January 20th 2012 @ 9:55am
      Australian Rules said | January 20th 2012 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Well written Jeff.

    • January 20th 2012 @ 10:24am
      Ian Whitchurch said | January 20th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      I still havent seen any evidence what so ever that there are too many AFL clubs.

      The way I see it, more clubs is more content to sell, both through gate receipts, sponsorship and media revenue.

      • Roar Pro

        January 20th 2012 @ 12:30pm
        Jeff Dowsing said | January 20th 2012 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

        Ah, ‘content’… I’ll take quality over quantity any day Ian. It’s like being given the choice between watching Big Brother every night or one episode a week of Gruen Planet.

        Furthermore, more and more clubs is no fun for fans who’ve rarely, if ever, seen their team win a flag, who now face the even less likely prospect of experiencing the ultimate in their lifetime.

        • January 20th 2012 @ 4:18pm
          Ian Whitchurch said | January 20th 2012 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

          Regrettably for your credibility, thats not the argument you made.

          You said “The simple fact of the matter, and it’s been the case for decades now, is that there’s just too many clubs in Melbourne. There must come a time soon when the AFL and the financially viable clubs’ patience will run out.”

          The breadth of the AFL, and therefore the money it raises, allows for the support of things like the NEAFL and the Foxtel Cup, that create more opportunities for more footballers and coaches to play and develop.

          • Roar Pro

            January 21st 2012 @ 1:59pm
            Jeff Dowsing said | January 21st 2012 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

            My credibility? There’s no contradiction at my end.

            Too many clubs in Melbourne equates to too many clubs in the competition. Had North gone to Gold Coast/Canberra/Tassie full time we’d have 2 less clubs already. And a higher standard of football.

            The money in the game would still be there with 16, or even 14 clubs. In fact the current TV rights value may well be over the odds. If 2012 continues in a similar vein to last year, the networks will be begging for a mercy rule to put the rising number of blowout games out of their misery.

            All well and good to talk about more opportunities for players & coaches but this is the elite competition I’m talking about that is fast becoming a joke with the disparity between clubs and the way in which they’re increasingly having to be subsidised to remain remotely competitive.

            • Roar Guru

              January 21st 2012 @ 2:07pm
              The_Wookie said | January 21st 2012 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

              A higher standard of football? Not necessarily. The standard is down because theres so much emphasis on youth. odds on the 20 top players at Gold coast last year would have fronted for an AFL club last year if they didnt exist, usually at the expense of older, experienced players. Look at Melbourne as a classic example.

              All things being equal, theres enough money and support to run all current clubs – if they can stop rigging the draw to be highly beneficial to a few. If it was equal subsidies wouldnt be necessary. Its not, so they are.

            • January 21st 2012 @ 2:15pm
              Ian Whitchurch said | January 21st 2012 @ 2:15pm | ! Report


              2 less clubs is one less game per round, is less content to sell – and as well, as the history of Rugby League and Australian Rules shows, attempting to merge or throw out clubs leads to legal threats, members meetings and the code getting distracted from it’s core business for a good long time.

              Regarding blowout games, it was not Norf or Gold Coast but Melbourne that presented the worst performance … but like ItsCalledFootball you will select the facts that are useful to you at the time, and cite them and only them.

              North are attempting another Hawthorn-style semi-move … and as an old Tasmanian boy, a Tasmanian team is crippled if it bases itself at either Hobart or Launceston, so the best Tassie is going to get is two time shared teams.

              Finally, google “afl club funding financial equalisation plan” and read the AFL’s actual plan.

              The TLDR of this was ‘Super League was a dumb idea that crippled rugby league. Dont repeat it’


            • January 21st 2012 @ 3:26pm
              Stabpass said | January 21st 2012 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

              Actually at the beginning of the year, they were talking about the amount of close games and draws, things change very quickly.

              IMO the more Melbourne teams the better, the city is the home of Australian football, and probably the sports capital of the world, let alone Australia, the more sport the better, many people make the trip to Melbourne to see not only their own non Victorian team play, but many people who have never lived in Melbourne, but barrack for melbourne teams (old VFL) make the trip to see teams like the Bulldogs/Kangas/Pies /Blues play.

              By getting rid of the stragglers of the comp, who like any other team eventually come good, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.

            • January 22nd 2012 @ 12:15am
              screamer said | January 22nd 2012 @ 12:15am | ! Report

              The argument that the increase in the number of clubs has reduced the standard is very weak.

              The standard of football with 12 teams in the 80s was good enough for people then, in fact many people say it was better. But we have over twice as many people playing now, so if we were to judge by that measure we could have at least 24 teams and people would be satisfied. If the AFL clubs cut half their lists and promoted seconds and thirds, I guarantee you people would still turn up.

              Are we turned off football today because come 2050 every team will have five Abletts? No. We take what we can get and enjoy the game anyway.

              • Roar Pro

                January 22nd 2012 @ 9:16am
                Jeff Dowsing said | January 22nd 2012 @ 9:16am | ! Report

                Selective choice of facts Ian? Yet you bring up Melbourne’s record loss as some kind of counterpoint to what? What the Melbourne game did show is the massive gap between the top and even the middle rung teams. You can throw in Port a another club that was barely competitve for much of last year and this year GWS will provide yet more compelling’ content.

                Apart from the fact that there’s less footballers that previously would have been considered League standard to spread around, the competition is becoming increasingly unbalanced. So whilst there are still some terrific close games, we virtually have 2 or 3 divisions. And much of this has been created by bringing in two new clubs that have necessitated consecutive drafts that have stymied several clubs whose long rebuilding programs were finally gaining momentum. Another way Melbourne clubs have paid for North’s decision to reject the GC deal.

                Whilst I agree that purging clubs is fraught with all kinds of backlash, I do not believe that Melbourne clubs subsisting by playing a couple games here, there and everywhere is a viable option. It’s all or nothing in my book. Why would anyone in Ballarat or Hobart join up in worthwhile numbers based on a couple games a year? Make a proper commitment and they just might accept it as more than tokenism, or desperation.

                And Stabpass, might want to consider Melbourne also supports professional clubs n the NBL (possibly soon to become 2), NRL, Super Rugby, ALeague x 2, Trans Tasman Netball, BBL x 2… I know Melbourne is supposedly the sporting capital of the world but the current landscape is economically unsustainable. Just talk to anyone in clubland whose job it is to find sponsorship.

              • January 22nd 2012 @ 11:43am
                screamer said | January 22nd 2012 @ 11:43am | ! Report

                I think you hit reply to the wrong person.

                I’d just like to take a moment to point out that all those other clubs you mention are smaller and less financial than North Melbourne, logically shouldn’t they all be given the flick first?

                The introduction of GWS and GC have created a transient problem, that is all. Apart from them and reglardless of depth of talent, it is spread evenly via a draft. There is nothing inherently unbalanced or unfair about an 18 team, or a 30 team competition so long as the talent is spread fairly. We don’t have a 2 or 3 division league in any sense, look at West Coast that won the wooden spoon in 2010 and finished top four in 2011.

                You have a very interesting link-in profile. Does your marketing role for the Melbourne & Olympic park trust include promoting rugby, soccer, league and netball games? Would it be too much to think that your opinion on this issue might just be tainted a little by self interest?

              • Roar Pro

                January 22nd 2012 @ 5:06pm
                Jeff Dowsing said | January 22nd 2012 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                Screamer, my FT role has little to do with promoting clubs of other codes – that is their gig, but thanks for taking the time to Google me. I have no more interest in those entities than the 2 AFL clubs residing at M&OP which you forgot to mention.

                Not sure how having to promote an extra 80 players to senior ranks doesn’t equate to the standard being weaker… if it’s a weak argument you might need to draw a picture for me.

                If you think the comp is hunky dory then good luck to you. I do try and enjoy the game as much as I can but I have grave reservations as well. But I could well be proved wrong, we’ll see. Some pretty sick clubs atm and a lot of uncompetitive games.

              • January 22nd 2012 @ 10:54pm
                screamer said | January 22nd 2012 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

                Jeff, I didn’t forget to mention any clubs. The AFL clubs don’t play out of your venues, they aren’t relevant to my question. I’m surprised to discover you have no interest in Collingwood though, they are a tenant of yours aren’t they? You did write a book about them didn’t you? I think maybe you should do a little googling yourself, try the phrase “corn pone”.

                I can’t understand why you’re so insistent there is a problem and so resistant to financial common sense. You’ve blown off everyone’s observations with nothing but vague generalities. Maybe you should do a better job of explaining in precise economic terms how the AFL and North Melbourne is better served by pushing them into an even more marginal situation?

                I’m sure you understand the weakness of your argument regarding talent full well, but here’s your picture anyway.


                The number of people playing football has grown much faster than the number of clubs in the AFL. Clubs have more talent to choose from than before, GWS and GC are a minor bump in the road of an expanding talent pool, and will themselves encourage even greater participation in future generations.

                Are you suggesting the AFL is in crisis?

            • January 22nd 2012 @ 5:44pm
              demons supporter said | January 22nd 2012 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

              2 less clubs…no we wouldn’t. there would be a club in western sydney (with same set up/rules i would imagine) about to start, so that would be 17. the afl would then look to introduce an 18th so they have 9 games a week so they could get better tv rights deal.

              so either way we would end up with 18 teams, maybe just a few years later

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