AFL divisions are the way of the future

timmy_morgs Roar Rookie

By timmy_morgs, timmy_morgs is a Roar Rookie


112 Have your say

    In our society, the number 18 represents growth, responsibility and change and should be no different for the AFL on the birth of its 18th club.

    The AFL hopes that its venture into Greater Western Sydney will close the divide between AFL and NRL in NSW, but division is exactly what the AFL should be planning for.

    I am not calling for war between the codes but in fact that the arrival of GWS is the perfect time for the AFL to launch division football.

    The AFL’s newest side will see 18 teams competing this year, 11 more matches then last year and one more side that won’t be taking part in the finals series.

    In short, we should expect an increase on last year’s nine losses by over 100 points and disappointingly, an increase in dead rubbers played towards the end of the season. To combat the increasing amount of irrelevant games, the AFL should introduce the following division system to promote equality and competiveness in the modern game.

    The AFL should establish three divisions of six teams where each team plays everyone once and everyone in their division twice.

    This would equate to a 22 round season and ensure the season is no longer than it already is.

    A further benefit is that each team would be playing their own division in the final five rounds, increasing the amount of ‘eight point games’ that could see teams dramatically climb the division ladder.

    At the completion of the regular season the top two sides from each division become the top six with their positions decided by their total points during the year.

    The final two spots in the eight are decided by a wildcard round that would see the next four best ranked teams from any of the divisions (meaning in theory all four wildcard teams can come from one division) play off to decide the final two spots.

    A divisional season structure would mean that teams in the same division have identical fixtures (in terms of teams played) minimising the advantage of getting to play weaker teams twice in the year. This would remove the debate in relation to who has the easier run home to the finals.

    Home finals and the spots within the eight would be based upon total points throughout the season, allowing the finals series to be played in the same manner as it has since 2000.

    By introducing the wildcard round it allows for more teams to still be in the running for finals towards the closing stages of the year ensuring wins are still vital.

    It also ensures the integrity of the final eight isn’t diluted and nullifies the effects of playing in a stronger or weaker division.

    There are two ways the AFL could go about assembling the divisions. Option one is by simply having the same sides play in the same division each year. Option two is have the divisions decided by where each team finishes the previous year.

    The AFL should look more favourably upon ‘option one,’ as it allows traditional rivals, local derby’s and blockbuster games to be played twice a year as they should be.

    For instance, the divisions could be as follows:

    Division one: Hawthorn, Collingwood, Essendon, Carlton, Sydney and GWS

    Division two: Geelong, St Kilda, Richmond, Kangaroos, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs

    Division three: West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Brisbane and Gold Coast

    This would allow the biggest rivalries such as Collingwood v Carlton and Essendon v Carlton to be played twice as well as all local derbies, showdowns and Q-clashes to be played twice.

    The biggest losers would appear to be division two, who will only play three of the big four Victorian teams once a year (or none in the case of Richmond), but would not be required to travel further than Geelong in the last five rounds.

    The AFL scrapped rivalry round and rightfully so, as who can seriously name traditional rivals for the likes of the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and St Kilda?

    If the current rivalry between Hawthorn and Geelong as well West Coast and Sydney in years gone past can teach us anything, it is that agonising losses (especially when finals are involved) can create the most bitter of rivalries.

    I’m sure if we see Melbourne nudge out hapless Richmond from claiming a long awaited spot in the finals for a few years running then tempers and rivalries will begin to boil.

    It is understandable that a revamped format would sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to those traditionalists who want the game left alone.

    The simple fact is that every change the AFL has made has been an attempt to improve the aesthetic of the game for the fans. Yet all games need context, and no matter the rule changes, the AFL must eradicate as many pointless games from the fixture as possible to maintain the quality of the product.

    The best way to do this in the league’s current format is by introducing division football.

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    The Crowd Says (112)

    • February 9th 2012 @ 6:12am
      ManInBlack said | February 9th 2012 @ 6:12am | ! Report

      I would suggest that there’s absolutely no co-incidence that the NEAFL is a 2 division structure.

      The AFL (admin) are ‘road testing’ the concept, and, by whatever time they feel ready to push it into the AFL (top level league) – the AFL (admin) will have had 5, or 10, or however many years experience of a 2nd (some would say 3rd) tier division based league.

      Well, that’s IMO, I could be completely off the mark.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2012 @ 8:04am
        mds1970 said | February 9th 2012 @ 8:04am | ! Report

        The NEAFL is in a conference structure to reduce travel costs. No other reason.

    • February 9th 2012 @ 7:45am
      Hk47 said | February 9th 2012 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Ummmm, division football involves promotion and relegation, this is conference football.

      But technicalities aside, I agree with you, although I would personally prefer 5 conferences of 4, when the introduction of Tasmania + 1 is complete.

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      • February 9th 2012 @ 9:20am
        Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        hk47 who would be your +1 to even up the expansion of Tassie? Where do you imagine that these extra 80 elite level foty players come from?

    • February 9th 2012 @ 8:35am
      Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      I don’t see how the AFL could introduce conference play and still give the Melbourne clubs everything they want, such as Collingwood at home(conveniently giving the pies heaps of games in their home state).

      • February 9th 2012 @ 9:11am
        Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 9:11am | ! Report


        If you want to do that – and I dont – you just set up a division with Collingwood, Carlton, Essendon and Richmond in it.

        • February 9th 2012 @ 9:21am
          Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 9:21am | ! Report

          Ian, I remember reading many years ago a proposal to split the AFL into 2 conferences, a Heartland Conference (read Victoria) and a National Conference (all the other teams). Of course being an SANFL fan, I am regularly ‘told’ how the AFL is really the VFL. That proposal would have cemented the inequities in the ‘fix’ture that honestly should see Victorian clubs do better than they currently do. When would the NatConf teams get the ‘privilege’ of playing on the ground the GF is held on?
          I noticed years ago that the brilliant ideas introduced from the AFL commission are almost always directly pinched from the NFL playbook, so I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually the AFL went with a 2 conference system, with the Conference winners playing off in the Stupor-bowl….I mean the Grand Final. It won’t affect me in any way. I get my ARF kicks from watching SANFL footy. Further expansion would likely dilute the pool of talent further. At least Rugby and football can tap into player pools from off shore.

          • February 9th 2012 @ 9:48am
            Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 9:48am | ! Report


            The AFL is growing the player pool by helping the second tier of the game through innovations like the NEAFL and the Foxtel Cup – you know, that national competition for the non-AFL clubs that the greedy, lazy, short sighted and incompetant SANFL teams refuse to play in.

            • February 9th 2012 @ 9:59am
              stabpass said | February 9th 2012 @ 9:59am | ! Report

              @ Ian, gotta agree, SA football ( from where i sit) appears to be losing ground, they are way behind the mark in developing womens footy, and the fact that there top 3 teams refuse to play in the foxtel cup just defies logic, a good shakeup appears imminent in SA.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2012 @ 10:17am
                Redb said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                The SANFL is being left behind it really does parallel the State of South Australia. Luckily, the SACA saw the light shown to it by the AFL and will redevelop the Adelaide Oval which will be something the Croweaters should pray at Victorians feet for forever more. 🙂

              • February 9th 2012 @ 10:38am
                Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:38am | ! Report

                I think you might want to re-look at more modern economic data than your high school text book. The State of SA is doing remarkably well these days, and that’s even before the upcoming mining boom in the north of the state really hits its stride. WA is still subsidising the whole country, but the old powerhouse states of NSW/Vic/Qld are in the 2nd tier of the economy for the foreseeable future. Here’s a tip, try reading something other than a Victorian paper (HS/Age) for your information on other states, the AFR is usually pretty balanced.
                in 2010:
                The first report by Access Economics says South Australia is quite well-positioned economically, despite the risks to the economy posed by the manufacturing and farm industries.
                The second report, on business confidence by PricewaterhouseCoopers, confirms that 56 per cent of South Australian businesses met or exceeded targets in March, although average profit growth and sales growth have dropped in the past 12 months.
                PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Michael Browne says private businesses in the state have been performing strongly over a considerable period, which gives the potentially false impression that growth is slowing.
                “South Australia is in good shape. It has come back to the pack after a strong period of sustained growth and consolidation,” he said.
                Projects in the natural resource sector in South Australia, including the expansion of the Olympic Dam mine, will also help improve the economic outlook as the state looks to move from a major manufacturing state to a resource region.
                Housing demands in the state have also been gathering pace, with housing and building industry expected to see a healthy year or two ahead.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2012 @ 11:42am
                Redb said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:42am | ! Report

                Oh dear.

                Have you checked the skyline of the Adelaide CBD over the past 10 years? It’s barely changed, construction a sure sign of a stagnating state, not to mention lagging house prices, employment,etc.

                Growth is relative to the base. SA ranks above only Tasmania in terms of economic might in OZ. Olympic Dam is a 50 year project, might take awhile to unleash this economic behemoath on the country.

              • February 10th 2012 @ 4:55pm
                Jaredsbro said | February 10th 2012 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

                Can anyone say NFL-isation of the ‘All-Australian’ football game 😉 If we’re going to have a look in the history books let’s all remember that the NFL sold out most of its foundation clubs pre-1960s in order to compete for the hearts and minds of NCAA Football fans.

                The Mickey Mouse approach has been mastered in the States…but to follow suit in Australasia ruins the strength of the historic inter-state component in Australian Football (and the same applies in the All-Brisbane travesty at the moment)

                Promotion/Relegation might help bring back some much needed respect for the non-Victorian hearts and minds. But anyways the AFL doesn’t need to do anything but keep growing, when the opportunity presents itself! Also compared to Soccer, the AFL/NRL season (and prob RU’s season too) is too short as is…22 weeks just seems so…streamlined

            • February 9th 2012 @ 10:24am
              Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

              The SANFL position is a direct result of the tension between the two governing bodies. The SANFL feel that the AFL is arrogantly attempting to whitewash footy history such that only Victorian footy history is maintained and thus they seem to enter most discussions with the AFL with a sense of distrust. The AFL doesn’t seem to be helping the situation by using a big stick our way or the highway approach at times. Luckily for the SANFL, the commission of the 90s had the foresight to retain ownership of the 2 AFL licenses, giving the SANFL a guaranteed income stream. Other states just rolled over and let the AFL diddle them, which is why you see the AFL-Q& AFL-NSW now and one day the AFL-WA, but hopefully never the AFL-SA. The AFL have set themselves up as guardians of the game by virtue of their position as administrators of the biggest footy league in the land, but they ought to be more mindful of the history of the game beyond Victorian borders if they want co-operation towards their long term goals. As a Norwood fan, why should I care if the Redlegs beat Southport/Swan Districts to win the Foxtel cup? The only prize I care about is the T.S. Hill trophy for premiers of the league. Play in the Foxtel cup so the ravenous AFL teams can just draft all of our better players, that’s a recipe for long term success in the local leagues. I’m surprised that the SANFL teams manage as well as they do in maintaining membership & attendance numbers. Poker machines do help to some extent, IIRC the SANFL salary cap is significantly bigger than the WAFL one. I fail to see how you can characterize the SANFL as incompetent. Surely their duty is to the 9 SANFL teams and the development zones they represent? Not to kowtow to any harebrained half arsed idea the AFL come up with to further their own needs.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 10:36am
                stabpass said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                The SANFL needs to find a balance between thinking they are bent over by the AFL, and what is best for football, facts are, that the VFL was always bigger than the SANFL, they just need to get over it.

                They need to be more progressive, WA football, QLD football and even NSW football sem to be moving ahead of SA.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 11:36am
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:36am | ! Report


                Every complaint you make about the national competition is repeated by country leagues complaining about the local city league.

                The fact that it really is true that in the SANFL “The only prize I care about is the T.S. Hill trophy for premiers of the league”, which is why they need to be crushed, as the good of the code comes over all else, and the SANFL does two thirds of sweet stuff all for that.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 11:39am
                Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:39am | ! Report

                Ian, and just who will do the important junior development role currently undertaken by the SANFL clubs if the AFL gets its way and ‘crushes’ the SANFL? Not a very good long term view there i would say.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 11:43am
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:43am | ! Report


                Same way it’s funded now – country clubs and rural development officers are paid for by the money thrown off by the AFL.

                Regrettably, in South Australia parasites like Norwood take their slice off the top to fund their salary cap.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 1:09pm
                Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

                Ian, I love how you would just dump a proud club over 100 years old and champions of Australia twice(that would be once more than St. Kilda), just in the hope of further empowering the already powerful AFL, what a stunning display of Victorian arrogance. What happens to the thousands of Norwood fans? I guarantee with 90% certainty that they won’t become Crows or Port fans. They will be lost to the Australian game forever. In your haste to demolish a potential barrier to world domination, you overlook the possibility of the AFL extending the olive branch to the SANFL clubs. Perhaps by showing a bit more respect for a strong and viable competition rather than the traditional ”it aint Victorian so it aint worth squat” disdain. I feel that the SANFL clubs would be more likely to listen to pleas about doing things for the good of the game. Unfortunately, with the AFL, the good of the game and the good of the AFL are frequently intertwined and SA clubs are rightfully suspicious of the AFL, considering the many times the VFL/AFL has gone behind its back to get what it wants rather then negotiating face to face. Nobody who is serious about footy wants the SANFL and the AFL at loggerheads. A sport divided amongst itself does nobody any good except rival codes. I believe in the long ruin the 2 parties are just going to have to get along and work together for the betterment of the game in SA and Victoria.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 1:27pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 1:27pm | ! Report


                I dont want any SANFL clubs to disband. They should simply run their own footy club without money extorted from the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide.

                Like all clubs, they should get an ongoing flow of funds when their players play the top-level football that pays the bills, but beyond that ? Go raise your own dollars, recruit your own members and run your own social club.

          • February 9th 2012 @ 10:15am
            the truth hurts said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:15am | ! Report

            Someone is very bitter about Australian Football. You call yourself a fan (SANFL only), maybe you should stick to posting on 442 as Van Basten.

            • February 9th 2012 @ 11:15am
              Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:15am | ! Report

              I love Australian football, I regularly attend my A-League club and the National team both home and abroad.
              It is possible, despite the code warrior zealots cries, to be a fan of both footy and football of course. I’m lucky in that footy is my winter passion and football my summer one. I find it interesting that Victorians are generally dismissive of the SANFL probably because they have an overblown sense of entitlement to the history of the game, and because their state league morphed into the AFL, whereas ours has become a viable alternative to the hubris that eminates from under Docklands.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 6:05pm
                Australian Rules said | February 9th 2012 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

                Wow Kasey.

                We get it. You like South Australia.

            • February 10th 2012 @ 5:00pm
              Jaredsbro said | February 10th 2012 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

              I second that actually: far too much about Victoria and not enough about what gives the code is weighting vs prob any other except cricket in Australia, the fact that more people care about the champions of Australian Football than the NRL say!

    • Roar Guru

      February 9th 2012 @ 9:38am
      Redb said | February 9th 2012 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      Good article. The 3 divisions has been kicked around a few times. I think the chorus for equity in the draw is growing but I’m not sure keeping the big blockbuster division of Vic clubs will satisfy that chorus.

      2 or 3 divisions set by ladder position might be a more equitable way to go in the future.

      • February 10th 2012 @ 5:05pm
        Jaredsbro said | February 10th 2012 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

        Yeah as I said above: too American a solution isn’t it? In a code where the hearts and minds were bought/brunt at the expense of another competition entirely (hint: one which wasn’t all about dosh) …you can get away with having divisions which are not geographical/historic by any stretch of the imagination. But in an unevenly distributed comp with more than one team per fictional community (say if the NFL had been born out of the NCAA comp for example)…it doesn’t work

    • Roar Pro

      February 9th 2012 @ 9:48am
      Jeff Dowsing said | February 9th 2012 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      It’s time to do away with all these sweetheart deals around derbies, supposed rivalries, CollvCarlvEss twice etc.

      If this is a serious comp it needs to be treated that way, with a fair draw for all. No other decent football comp in the world would stand for what the AFL fixture has degenerated into.

      No problem with the 3 conference concept for the purposes of the draw, as long as it’s based on the previous year’s ladder or final finishing order. That way all clubs play the same number of good, average & indifferent sides the following year (of course some clubs will improve or trail off – but generally speaking this is as equitable as you can get).

      I am assuming we are running one ladder with a final 8? Because 6 or 9 club final series models are a joke.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2012 @ 10:02am
        mds1970 said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        Alternatively, you give each team a ranking based on the previous year’s ladder position (premier =1, runner up =2, last =18 etc). Then you allocate teams into the divisions so that, ideally, the ranking of each group would add up to 57 (but a tolerance of 54-60 would be acceptable).
        That would enable a more even draw, but allow the AFL to keep their derbies and blockbusters.

        • Roar Guru

          February 9th 2012 @ 5:59pm
          The Cattery said | February 9th 2012 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

          I think you have mentioned this before, and I checked it out once, and the mathematics and practicalities of it worked out very well.

          For the benefit of everyone else, this is what mds is proposing. Each team is ranked from the previous year according to premier=1 down to last=18. Those rankings add up to 171, and with an equitable three-way split, you end up with three conferences of 57 points each. But as mds suggests, a tolerance of 54 to 60 is acceptable if you to try and make sure derbies and rivalries are accommodated, at least as much as is possible, and it certainly can work out.

          Using last year’s ladder, we end up with:
          Conference 1
          1 Geelong
          4 West Coast
          11 Freo
          7 Sydney
          18 GWS
          13 Melbourne
          Total = 54

          Conference 2
          2 Collingwood
          5 Carlton
          8 Essendon
          12 Richmond
          15 Brisbane
          17 Gold Coast
          Total = 59 pts

          Conference 3
          3 Hawthorn
          6 St Kilda
          9 North
          10 Western Bulldogs
          14 Adelaide
          16 Port Adelaide
          Total = 58 pts

          All adds up to 171, and all relatively equitable, all derbies catered for, and on this occasion, even the big 4 Melbourne clubs are catered for, although that wouldn’t happen every time, and we need to accept that – but that took me all of 10 mintues to do – so it’s a very, very easy way to get a relatively equitable draw year to year.

      • February 9th 2012 @ 10:19am
        Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        Jeff Dowsing,

        Like the NFL, which had Seattle qualify for the finals in 2010-11 at 7-9, with six of those games against a hopeless St Louis, a pathetic Arizona and an inept San Francisco ?

        The AFL should do what it has been doing, which is concentrate on the good of the code – and that means balancing making money by blockbuster games with ensuring a reasonably even competition.

        Finally, Im not at all convinced a soft draw helps you at finals time – Adelaide this year may be proof of this.

        • Roar Pro

          February 9th 2012 @ 10:59am
          Jeff Dowsing said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          Look, to be the best you have to beat the best – I agree to some extent with what you’re saying Ian.

          But when the difference between a home final (2nd v 3rd), or double chance (4th v 5th) can be a couple points or percentage, then the relative fixture is kinda important don’t you think? To a large extent it undoes the objectives of the salary cap & draft.

          Or are we just following the Gina Rinehart philosophy now where the end game is simply to make as much money as possible?

        • February 9th 2012 @ 11:08am
          TomC said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:08am | ! Report

          Ian, you’ve pretty much spelt out my biggest concern after reading the article.

          I mean, based on that system up there, Fremantle would have strolled into the finals last season, while Carlton, Sydney and Essendon would have had to fight it out for wildcard spots. And if I read it correctly, Fremantle would have hosted the wildcard teams over in Perth in the first week of the finals.

          I really don’t see how Timmy’s suggestion is more equitable, when the teams that have the easiest draws are also given the easiest path into the finals.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2012 @ 12:48pm
            Redb said | February 9th 2012 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            That’s only looking at the relative strength of the clubs as they stand now which will change from time to time.

            The fairest way is to split the divisions based on ladder position (previous year) that allows an even spread of teams regardless of geographical position or blockbusters.

            3 Divisions

            Each team still plays the other at least once ensuring the blockbusters & derbies still occur. As the divisions change each year there is no feeling chance for the team in each division to languish in a poor grouping.

    • February 9th 2012 @ 1:49pm
      Nathan of Perth said | February 9th 2012 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

      Bah, if you want good for the Code, go pro/rel leagues not conferences and *build up the State Leagues*. What we have here is a brittle little shell of AFL around a great big hollow space with the strangled state leagues somewhere within.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2012 @ 1:52pm
        Redb said | February 9th 2012 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

        Pro/Rel would never work. There is a chasm between any State level club and an AFL club in terms of fans, revenue, sponsors,etc.

        • February 9th 2012 @ 4:08pm
          Nathan of Perth said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

          That is the bloody point, Redb, there is a chasm and we need to figure out a way to unchasm the chasm. Because THAT is the danger to the code. Too top-heavy.

          And don’t make NFL comparisons, the NFL sits upon an enormous, ginormous sea of multi-division, multi-conference NCAA football system which has decided to turn itself into a farming program for the league.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2012 @ 4:24pm
            Redb said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

            I’m not convinced we do.

            In any case you can’t unwind the evolution of AFL level clubs that would hurt the game more.

            • February 9th 2012 @ 4:40pm
              Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

              There’s the NEAFL, the Foxtel Cup, the AFL-funded development officers, the professionalisation of coaching, the flow of players back from the AFL to the development leagues …

              • February 9th 2012 @ 4:47pm
                Nathan of Perth said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

                Development leagues which are not strong enough to develop players properly. What we have right now is like if, in baseball, instead of being able to send their promising propsects or regular players that need to be played back into form during a slump to AAA minor league teams they only had the A-minors.

                How many times do you see an AFL player tear it up in the state leagues, get called back up to the AFL and get absolutely mauled. The difference in standard has gotten too far out of balance that it is beginning to harm their utility.

            • February 9th 2012 @ 4:43pm
              Nathan of Perth said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

              It is severely limiting to the player base, because we have nothing like the NCAA football system, or the MLB/NHL minor leagues to really create and develop adult players. The state leagues may be the second tier by name but by quality they are four or five jumps down. You can see it in how few players who aren’t drafted as teenagers ever make it up to the top. The current quality of the state leagues cannot properly develop players to AFL standard because we have let them languish too long and if they die off the AFL will really feel the hurt.

              We don’t need to unwind the AFL’s evolution at this stage, we need to bring up the other tiers.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 4:49pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

                Nathan of Perth,

                I think you’re wrong. I think there are a lot of players playing the the WAFL, SANFL and NEAFL that are good enough to play in the AFL.

                And Im going to watch my AFL side, Greater Western Sydney, prove that by having four standout players who earned their spurs in the WAFL, SANFL and VFL start for us next year – Stephen Coniglio, Stephen Clifton, Tim Mohr and Jonathon Giles all earned their spurs in the second tier.

                Oh, and the AFL is trying to strengthen the WAFL and SANFL by having the AFL’s reserves teams play in those competition, but as usual the WAFL and SANFL teams are screaming and kicking and refusing to move forward, so they’ll probably end up strengthening the NEAFL instead.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 4:56pm
                Nathan of Perth said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

                I’m not sure where we get the idea that WCE FC or FFC reserves sides will strengthen the WAFL as opposed to the other way around… And really, whatever benefit West Coast and Freo get through unified coaching of the reserves players is going to be undermined by the fact their opposition are going to have all their AFL players removed and then an additional 40 players will be called for to supplement the reserves squads.

                I like the idea of more players getting semi-pro contracts this way but I can’t help but feel this is just spinning the wheels in terms of improving things for Eagles/Dockers.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 5:40pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 5:40pm | ! Report


                Thats fine. Im happy with the Eagles and Dockers reserves playing in the NEAFL.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 5:45pm
                Nathan of Perth said | February 9th 2012 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

                Somehow I have a hard time seeing the majority semi-pro mix reserves of two teams playing 3,000km away from their own training centres and club HQ as a practical measure.

                Ps. Do take note that our second, reserve tier is almost entirely semi-pro or amateur. Not good for development when people are doing it around their nine-to-fives.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 8:58pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 9th 2012 @ 8:58pm | ! Report


                The numbers have been done.

                40 people at $500 each for 11 games is about one vaguely decent halfback flanker.

                Additionally, if you happen to be Belconnen and you are playing at home against the Weagles reserves, you have decent hopes of a better gate from the Canberra Weagles supporters that if you were playing, say, Ainslie.

                But, again, it comes down to courage. I’m willing to look at a national competition for AFL reserves and suburban sides and run the numbers. You respond with fear and pessimism about the costs.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2012 @ 2:05pm
        The_Wookie said | February 9th 2012 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

        Im fairly confident that we’ll never see pro-rel in the AFL. Its not an Australian thing. We might see equal conference setups like the NFL, but even then I doubt it.

        • February 9th 2012 @ 2:42pm
          Kasey said | February 9th 2012 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

          Its not an Australian thing? what bollocks, every major city Ammo’s league in the country has pro/rel. do you want to inform them of their unAustralianness? given the AFL’s slavish devotion to emulating almost everything the NFL does, I would be shocked if there isn’t a 20+ team AFL somewhere in the future divided up into x number of conferences to maximise blockbuster games and attendances.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2012 @ 3:17pm
            Redb said | February 9th 2012 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

            Answered your own point, they are amateur leagues.

            • February 9th 2012 @ 4:35pm
              Nathan of Perth said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:35pm | ! Report


          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2012 @ 4:57pm
            The_Wookie said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            Sorry the AFL took its cues from the Ammos since when?

            • February 9th 2012 @ 5:06pm
              Nathan of Perth said | February 9th 2012 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

              You stated: Its not an Australian thing.
              He stated: Its used across all amateur competitions in the land.

              The fact the AFL isn’t taking their cues from the Amateur leagues doesn’t affect the fact that P/R is in common use in Australia.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2012 @ 8:08pm
                The_Wookie said | February 9th 2012 @ 8:08pm | ! Report

                But not in any professional capacity its not. And thats my point, and maybe I should have clarified but you find me a professional sport in Australia that uses relegation – you cant. So while Im wrong on the Australian context overall, in an Australian professional context, Im more correct. Satsified?

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2012 @ 9:02pm
                The Cattery said | February 9th 2012 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

                The only national comp to have run with P&R for many years was the old NSL, and if we’re brutally honest, it’s pretty hard to say it was a raging success.

              • February 10th 2012 @ 8:33am
                Kasey said | February 10th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

                C’mon Cat, I thought you knew more about football than that. There was never any formal pro/rel in the NSL’s history. One never knew at the start of a season that if you finished in spot x or spot y in a state league that you would be promoted. Clubs played(42 over the 1977-2004 period) and for various reasons clubs decided they couldn’t continue. As these clubs withdrew, others applied for vacancies and stepped up to the plate. In fact the only actual expansion as we wopould use the term these days was the introduction of Perth Glory 15 years ago when Nick Tana put together a consortium to present why a WA team should be represented in the NSL. I for one am glad he did. Despite all of the mediocrity since the HAL was formed, Glory showed the way of the future.

              • Roar Guru

                February 10th 2012 @ 8:47am
                The Cattery said | February 10th 2012 @ 8:47am | ! Report


                that’s not my memory of it at all – at least for part of the history of the NSL, there was an understanding that a Melbourne club finishing below a certain position would be replaced by the VSL champion, and the same went in NSW (I can’t speak with certainty about Adelaide and Brisbane, Perth only came into it late in the piece).

                This is precisely how Canberra ended up with two NSL teams at one point, with Inter-Monaro having won the NSW league and got promoted as a consequence, in their second year, they finished bottom and got relegated – my memory of that time is that it was automatic, or pretty close to it.

                Either way, it gives us an inkling of why P&R is so difficult in Australia. A tiny team from Queanbeyan or Morwell gets promoted, and a major team gets relegated, maybe for years, and you’re basically kissing good bye to millions of dollars of revenue in the game.

              • February 10th 2012 @ 9:39am
                Kasey said | February 10th 2012 @ 9:39am | ! Report

                Fair enough if that is your memory, that may have been how it was in the Eastern States, but no matter how bad West Adelaide or Adelaide City did(City never seemed to have bad seasons – Zoran Matic was a master at keeping the Zebras highly placed) I knew that the next biggest or strongest clubs in the SASF Premier League would NOT get ‘promoted’ West Adelaide dropped out of the NSL after 1998-99 leaving Adelaide City as the lone representatives in the NSL. When patron Bob D’Ottavi couldn’t sustain/cover the losses the Black &whites were making financially anymore it looked as though Adelaide would for the first time be left without a football team in the national comp. I remember reading Meno Tetsoudis writing about a proposed team called the Adelaide Fire SC. That proposal became Adelaide United FC Mk1 in NSL season 2003-04 thanks to the patronage of well-known philanthropist Gordon Pickard and I’ve been a ’Red’ ever since (various off field re-structures sees us with AUFC Mk 4 I think), I expect and hope that the Reds will continue to improve on and off the field (the club is in talks to buy a social club facility from a community club that has hit hard times near the Adelaide 36ers stadium. And that one day if I have kids, I’ll be able to introduce them to the beautiful game as my father did for me by waking me up to watch the Netherlands win the Euros in 1988. Of course live football is better than being a bleary eyed kid at 2am IMO.

      • February 9th 2012 @ 11:41pm
        amazonfan said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

        Completely disagree. I’ve always hated the idea of promotion and relegation. Not only is it unfair (as multiple clubs have shown, it’s entirely possible to produce brilliant seasons straight after finishing the previous season near the bottom), but it makes it harder for clubs to rebound and to challenge for flags in the future. It’s also terrible for the fans, and I think there are better ways to make it interesting for fans of clubs which have no chance of winning a flag, other than having them attempt to avoid relegation (such as developing rivalries).

        • February 10th 2012 @ 5:44pm
          Jaredsbro said | February 10th 2012 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

          Is that solely a cost-benefit argument or is it because you think the NFL is a massively profitable comp for its code that the smaller, but local kid on the block should play his cards in the same way ;)? I don’t mean to be offensive, but all too often that’s te gist of the arg rather than thinking about why it works in many of the world’s biggest comps.

          • February 10th 2012 @ 6:35pm
            amazonfan said | February 10th 2012 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

            I don’t understand, when did I mention the NFL?

            I don’t care what the NFL or the EPL or the NBA do. I don’t think we should replicate those competotions simply because they are bigger than the AFL. My reasons for opposing pro/rel also don’t have to do with a cost-benefit analysis. That would imply that there are benefits. 😛 😀 No, I oppose it because I think it’s unfair, and I don’t think it will work in Australia.

            BTW, there is one thing which big overseas comps tend to have, and which I would HATE for the AFL to re/introduce: private ownership.

            • February 10th 2012 @ 6:50pm
              Jaredsbro said | February 10th 2012 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

              Apologies for pulling you into another debate (I guess ;)). A lot of people would say its not very Australian promotion/relegation. And judging by other Australian comps that’s probably true, but let me ask you this…why is there such correlation between the American and the Australian ways of running comps?

              I personally don’t like the way the NFL can’t seeem to find a way of having a team in Los Angeles…but in terms of comps, you couldn’t get more different from the NFL in some ways (an ex-suburban comp for one) and yet when it comes to determining what is fair why is there suddenly no difference between the NFL and the AFL?