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Fox Footy from Fox Sports

A national AFL reserves competition, or expanded VFL, could be on the cards in the coming years as West Coast flagged concerns over the club’s options in the west.

Code Sports reports Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett fronted the WAFL club presidents on Tuesday after his struggling club was granted list concessions following a winless season and third wooden spoon in a row.

He told the presidents West Coast had the possibility of following Adelaide and Port Adelaide in abandoning their state leagues and either joining an expanded VFL or full AFL reserves competition to develop their young players. 

 

The move would cost the WAFL $600,000 a year in license fees and $1 million if Fremantle did the same and abandoned their partnership with Peel Thunder.

The other options floated by Nisbett, to align with a WAFL club (most likely Perth Demons but this would be very hard to get across the line) or spreading their players across the league (which would be difficult to run and out-of-line with all other AFL clubs), were viewed as much more unrealistic by the presidents which is why they took the AFL reserves competition threat so seriously.

The Western and South Australian clubs are the only ones not involved in the expanded VFL, which holds the historic name despite featuring clubs in New South Wales and Queensland, including 2023 premiers Gold Coast.

Adelaide and Port Adelaide could be involved in an expanded VFL as soon as next season, according to the report, and a full AFL reserves comp is viewed as a possibility for 2027 - as long as the arrangements with AFL airline partner Virgin are changed so all team flights can be chartered.

The VFL currently features a whopping 21 clubs - 11 reserves sides for Gold Coast, Brisbane, the Western Bulldogs (Footscray), Collingwood, Richmond, North Melbourne, Carlton, GWS, Geelong, Essendon and Sydney, plus aligned sides Casey (Melbourne), Box Hill (Hawthorn) and Sandringham (St Kilda).

There are also seven stand-alone sides - Werribee, Williamstown and Port Melbourne who have financial advantages through pokie machines, plus Southport, Frankston, Northern Bullants and Coburg.

The uncompetitiveness of the latter three became a major concern last season with Coburg going winless while Northern Bullants finished with a percentage of 40.4.

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 hour 46 sec ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

If the Eagles can't win a game in the WAFL, what makes Nisbett think they will be any more successful in the VFL or an AFL Reserves comp? This issue of WA and SA AFL clubs joining the VFL seems to surface just about every season but nothing ever comes of it - it seems the old WAFL and SANFL clubs don't want them in their comps so if they did join the VFL and there was a Tasmanian team as well we would have a comp of about 30 teams which would be totally unwieldy and might require splitting the comp into two conferences - interesting times ahead if Nisbett is correct with his vision. 

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 4 hours 10 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

Based on what I saw from West Coast reserves last year, I'd go into a Frankston vs West Coast game feeling fairly confident that we'd win.

It seems like a move to national reserves comp is the next logical step for the AFL. We already have 14 out of 18 AFL clubs fielding reserves teams in the VFL, and the same will probably happen with Tasmania once they join the AFL and possibly even a 20th team depending on where it's based (a Canberra AFL team would almost certainly play its reserves in the VFL for instance.) 

The ultimate question is what happens to the standalone clubs if this happens. I doubt they'd keep the VFL name if it becomes a truly national competition, but would they still allow standalone clubs to compete? And even if they do, is that even viable in the long term? The long travel distances for some games, plus the lower pay, is all a bit much to ask of semi-professional footballers. I don't see how this hybrid model we have now would work unless the AFL introduces financial assistance to struggling clubs.  

paul
Last seen: 8 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

If WCE played in the VFL they wouldn't be hampered by the recruiting rules the WAFL have put on them, so could have a much better top up list than they do now.

If the 2 x SA and WA clubs do eventually leave their local comps, it will be because of those restrictions. As it is, they seem to play a constant cat and mouse game of threatening to leave and getting some small changes to the rules to help them field stronger teams.

comeng's picture
comeng
Last seen: 11 hours 21 min ago
Joined: 21/04/2008 - 00:00

Port are leaving the SANFL for a national AFL reserves comp.

https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/port-adelaide-set-to-abandon-150-years-of...

Robbo
Last seen: 4 hours 16 min ago
Joined: 21/03/2004 - 00:00

Port Adelaide are not leaving SANFL have a contract until at least 2028
AFL has already said nothing will  change they have  committed to the current VFL competition and want to make it work.

Otherwise current VFL stand alone clubs plus Bpx Hill, Sandringham and Casey would all cease to exist as AFL would not fund a 3rd tier competition. That’s the reality and worst case scenario.

aj9172's picture
aj9172
Last seen: 2 days 4 hours ago
Joined: 26/08/2019 - 16:45

The AFL infuriate me......third tier? No, it's us having a bloody state league, just like every other state in Australia does. An AFL reserves comp is a national comp, NOT a second tier Victorian comp. The only way our clubs have a future is for this fact to be recognised and a true Victorian league be at least partially funded by the AFL. If it remains as it is I may as well give up going, because the Frankstons of the world have zero chance of winning a flag in the currently unbalanced playing field.

NorthPort's picture
NorthPort
Last seen: 5 hours 54 min ago
Joined: 03/11/2003 - 00:00

With the likelihood of PAFC (eventually) joining the VFL, and WCE keen to do the same, and Tasmania also joining in 2025, how would you feel about the VFA/VFL returning to two divisions with promotion / relegation?

 

 


* It's time to restore the VFA name.

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 4 hours 10 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

Personally I would be okay with two divisions. At least some of the struggling clubs would have something to realistically compete for. Our only senior-level VFA flag is a Division 2 premiership, and I know I'd celebrate any premiership this club won regardless of whether it was the top division or not. At least we'd have something.

paul
Last seen: 8 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

Be ready in 2025 for the NMFL ;-)
WCE, Fremantle, Port Adelaide, Adelaide, Tasmania, Sydney, GWS, Gold Coast, Southport, Brisbane

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 hour 46 sec ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

Non-Melbourne Football League?

paul
Last seen: 8 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

Non-Mexican Football League

Bearsman's picture
Bearsman
Last seen: 11 hours 30 min ago
Joined: 01/08/2014 - 20:20

What a great idea! Love it.. 2 Thumbs Up Smiley

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 hour 46 sec ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

haha got it - south of the border 

NorthPort's picture
NorthPort
Last seen: 5 hours 54 min ago
Joined: 03/11/2003 - 00:00

National Mens Football League?

Non-Exclusive, MultiState, Footballing Lottery?

 


* It's time to restore the VFA name.

billythekid
Last seen: 10 hours 22 min ago
Joined: 22/11/2004 - 00:00

The only way the current  unsustainable  bloated  VFL (sic) comp can be a fairer and viable comp is by having a two division solution!

Maybe as a northern and southern split.

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 hour 46 sec ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

May become even more bloated with the admission of a Tasmanian team and possibly the WA and SA AFL teams - that would push the numbers up to almost thirty which is totally unwieldy