Which teams would make the cut in an A-League second division?

Nick Symonds Roar Rookie

By Nick Symonds, Nick Symonds is a Roar Rookie

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8 Have your say

    A national second division can be an emotive topic of discussion, especially when it comes to who gets in.

    It isn’t easy to decide which teams should be included and which should be excluded, but someone has to choose. There are a number of interested clubs from the old NSL and a number of bids for new A-League teams, but we can narrow down the eventual makeup of a second division.

    The old NSL comprised 42 clubs from across the country, but most of them would not be eligible for the second division.

    Excluding current A-League teams cuts the list down to 38, a further 11 teams have collapsed and two have merged, leaving 26 eligible entities of the original 42.

    Quality stadiums are important assets for any competition, so a few more teams with substandard grounds lacking TV and corporate facilities will naturally fall by the wayside, reducing the list to 15 clubs.

    A few more clubs will lose out because their regions are already represented or would be represented by an alternative bid: Marconi Stallions and Sydney United are both part of the Fairfield expansion bid, Wollongong Wolves would likewise beat Wollongong Macedonia to the punch, and West Adelaide loses out to Adelaide City.

    All that considered, there are just three old NSL teams eligible for the second division, those being Melbourne Knights, Sydney Olympic and Canberra City, with the latter perhaps merging with W-League team Canberra United.

    A further five teams currently bidding for A-League spots – Wollongong Wolves, Brisbane City, Brisbane Strikers, South Melbourne and Adelaide City – would be similarly eligible.

    To those eight teams you could add those bidding for an A-League franchise, namely Geelong, Sunshine Coast Fire, Southern Sydney, Dandenong, Fremantle, Tasmania and Fairfield, though Tasmania could warrant a Hobart-Launceston derby.

    Similarly, including Wollongong as a separate team will also allow a Sydney southern expansion team to focus on Southern Sydney, which it could call itself, rather than the ill-defined Southern Somethings.

    Finally, there is a third group of bigs that could emerge to fill in the second division, including Townsville Fury, Cairns Heat, Gold Coast United, Campbelltown/Macarthur, South West Melbourne, Hobart, Launceston City and Darwin

    If you add up the NSL teams, current A-League bids and possible A-League bids the theoretical second division comes to 22 teams. When you add that to the current 10 A-League teams, it brings the total to 32 teams across both divisions.

    Trying to pick winners for a second division risks alienating some fans whose clubs could be left out, but I think this list could be agreed upon by most people.

    You only have to look at the list of teams who took part in the NSL to see why it went wrong. Is it any wonder the NSL was such a mess with all those teams?

    People have concerns that a national second division wouldn’t work based on the past, but with a stronger line-up of teams I don’t think that kind of history is likely to repeat itself.

    By taking only the strongest clubs from the NSL and adding them to new teams and bids, you could put together a strong and stable national second division.

    I hope this gives people a better sense of what a national second division might look like and whether or not it would be viable long term.

    The Australian second division
    Adelaide City
    Brisbane City
    Brisbane Strikers
    Cairns Heat
    Canberra City
    Gold Coast United
    Launceston City
    Melbourne Knights
    South Melbourne
    South West Melbourne
    Southern Sydney
    Sunshine Coast Fire
    Sydney Olympic
    Townsville Fury
    Wollongong Wolves

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • September 10th 2017 @ 9:48am
      Gurudoright said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      For me it would be
      Sydney Southern
      South Melbourne
      Gold Coast City ( made 2 FFA Cups QFs in 3 attempts
      Brisbane Strikers or City
      Adelaide City
      A second Perth team

    • September 10th 2017 @ 9:53am
      j,binnie said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Nick – I find it hard to follow the thread of your debate material ,especially the numbers you cite.
      Let me explain.
      When the NSL was set up it consisted of 14 teams to play out the 1977 season.
      Counting expected “failures” due to performance or financial reasons this was to remain the size of the NSL until the disasterous seasons 1984 and 85 when the parent body .the ASF, decided to copy the American idea and came up with a 2 conference system that consisted of 25 teams.The less said about this period the better, enough to say many clubs found it a bridge too far and fell away from the competition
      When the league was re- engineered in 1987 there were only 13 participating clubs and even then there were still clubs dropping out.
      This state of affairs was to last through to 2004 when in it’s last year the NSL again could only find 13 teams to fill the original 14 identity format.
      Now I appreciate the “wastage” figures in the competition were high but it is when those figures are analysed the weakness in the system begins to emerge. Clubs,many backed by ethnically based social clubs,found it extremely hard to prove their viability to their “parent body” and so the “axe was wielded”,simply a finance situation that had very little to do with the standard of football being purveyed on the fields. Cheers jb.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 2:19pm
        Nick Symonds said | September 10th 2017 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

        When I submitted the article I included a list of all the clubs who made up the NSL and a second list made up of all the ones I didn’t think would be suitable from the first to make up a second division.

        If you look at the list of clubs that wouldn’t make the cut and then compare that to a list of ones that could it’s very clear that a national second division won’t be a repeat of the NSL as many who oppose the idea seem to fear.

        Whenever there’s a debate over a second division and P/R you always get people saying that it would just end up being a repeat of the NSL. I just wanted to illustrate the contrast between that and what a national second division might actually look like by comparison.

        In fact there were only 8 NSL clubs that I thought might be able to make the step up, so the claim that the A-League would be swamped by mono-ethnic clubs or Morwells who would wreck the joint seems exaggerated.

        In a worst case scenario if there were ethnic violence related issues at matches FFA could make teams play in front of empty stadiums as a sanction or if it repeats, throw them out of the competition altogether. That also goes for any other club.

        FFA have stated in the past (they can flip-flop) that they would have two divisions of 16 teams for 32 in total, so that’s where I was coming from with my numbers. But I don’t think P/R should happen before there are 16-18 teams in the A-League.

        Wollongong Wolves
        Brisbane City
        Brisbane Strikers
        South Melbourne
        Adelaide City

        Canberra City – (Merger with Canberra United W-League team?)
        Sydney Olympic
        Melbourne Knights – (They have Chinese backing / interest)


        2002 NSL BID – Chinese backed


        Brisbane Lions (Roar)
        Adelaide United
        Newcastle United
        Perth Glory

        Marconi Stallions – Fairfield
        Sydney United – Fairfield
        Wollongong Macedonia
        West Adelaide

        Blacktown City
        Heidelberg United
        A.P.I.A. Leichhardt
        Green Gully
        Northern Spirit
        Sydney City

        Penrith City
        Preston Lions
        Footscray JUST
        Sunshine George Cross
        St George Saints
        Western Suburbs
        Parramatta Eagles
        Parramatta Power
        Morwell Falcons
        Newcastle Breakers
        Newcastle KB United
        Newcastle Rosebud United
        Inter Monaro
        Brunswick Juventus
        Canberra Cosmos
        Collingwood Warriors
        Football Kingz

        • September 10th 2017 @ 3:31pm
          j,binnie said | September 10th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

          Nick- you have obviously put a lot of thought and research into your articles.
          Might I be allowed to come at your solutions from a different angle.
          Starting at our top league the HAL we find that most of the teams are still very dependent on bringing overseas players into the country to fill their critical positions in the team. The rules limit this activity but the clubs are already by-passing the rules by getting rid of players who have not quite fulfilled their promise and replacing them with some more “trialists”from Europe or other regions.
          We then drop to the FFA Cup where due to the system we find the draw rigged to “help ” lower division teams gain some success over HAL teams just started training.The disturbing factor is that when watching these “cup ties” we invariably hear the commentators describing many of the NPL team players as having some experience at different clubs in the HAL. so in fact we are seeing the same conditions applied as in the HAL,”critical positions” being filled with players who have already had the benefits of “HAL experience” albeit it very limited
          So what is going to happen if these clubs who are performing well in the various NPL’s gain entry into an improved system of full time professionalism ,are they going to jump on the “European player” bandwagon and further cut down on the available paths for young Australian players. Just some food for thought. Cheers jb.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 5:15pm
            Nick Symonds said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

            “So what is going to happen if these clubs who are performing well in the various NPL’s gain entry into an improved system of full time professionalism ,are they going to jump on the “European player” bandwagon and further cut down on the available paths for young Australian players.”

            If second division sides can sign players like Besart Berisha or Filip Hološko it just makes the league more popular, is that a bad thing? If the A-League sides improve and raise their standards and the second division gets closer to today’s A-League standard then you have to look at a third division.

            “We then drop to the FFA Cup where due to the system we find the draw rigged to “help ” lower division teams gain some success over HAL teams just started training.”

            That’s why I like the idea of a league cup between the first and second divisions with 32 teams. The top 8 teams from the A-League get put into different groups and the rest get drawn at random. After that anything can happen, like the world cup. That would be better than just a top 8 finals series.

            “Nick- you have obviously put a lot of thought and research into your articles.”

            Sometimes yes, other times not so much.

    • Roar Guru

      September 10th 2017 @ 12:12pm
      Grobbelaar said | September 10th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

      It shows we have the numbers to cater for 16 teams in the 1st div and 14 teams in the 2nd.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 2:01pm
      Nemesis said | September 10th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

      I want a truly National 2nd Division & have 3 foundation principles:

      1) Whole of Australia to be involved
      2) Financial benchmarks to be fulfilled

      Filtering process
      3) Clubs must have had on-field success in NPL era

      I want to start with 14 team NPL:

      VIC, NSW, QLD = 3
      NNSW, ACT, SA, WA, TAS = 1

      I don’t know enough about NPL clubs outside Victoria, so my choice for Victoria would be:

      Bentleigh Greens
      Heidelberg Utd
      Sth Melb

      • September 10th 2017 @ 2:25pm
        Nick Symonds said | September 10th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

        Foundation principle number #4 – no conference system.

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