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NorthPort
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Gulf may widen between VFL clubs: Ayres

From the AFL website
Gulf may widen between VFL clubs: Ayres
By Ryan Davidson and Ashley Browne
Apr 11, 2018 7:30AM

Richmond beat Port Melbourne by 65 points in the VFL Grand Final rematch - AFL,VFL
Richmond beat Port Melbourne by 65 points in the VFL Grand Final rematch
You hope that's not a gulf that could be appearing between the AFL clubs and the VFL standalones
Gary Ayres
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THE TALENT gap between standalone clubs and AFL-aligned clubs in the VFL could be widening, Port Melbourne coach Gary Ayres fears.

Round one of the Victorian state league was one of the most lopsided in recent years, with standalone clubs Coburg and Frankston thrashed by 102 and 107 points respectively, while Port Melbourne (65 points) and Williamstown (37 points) were also beaten convincingly by AFL-aligned rivals.

The only outlier from the opening round was Werribee's four-point loss to Geelong.

Ahead of his 700th game as a player and coach at AFL/VFL and VFL/VFA level, Ayres, who was a five-time premiership star with Hawthorn, is concerned that the gap between the VFL haves and have-nots could be approaching worrying levels.

IN THE MIX ROUND FOUR: Who's a possible in for your team?

"I don't know whether (round one) was a one-off, but all the standalone clubs bar Werribee, the closest margin for the standalones was about 50 points," Ayres told AFL.com.au.

"You hope that's not a gulf that could be appearing between the AFL clubs and the VFL standalones."

Another disadvantage the standalone clubs face is the increasing pattern of former AFL players choosing to continue their careers in local football, where remuneration and job prospects can be more lucrative.

Ayres, who coached the Borough to the 2017 VFL flag, has only five players with AFL experience at his disposal for the team's premiership defence after the inner-city club failed to sign a recruit over the off-season who had played at the highest level.

"We have had a consistent run (over the years) of topping up our list with players who want to play at the highest level, but this summer, a lot of players we spoke to who were leaving the AFL wanting less commitment and were happy to play in the 'burbs," Ayres said.

"They were keen to look at job prospects and that's something our infrastructure couldn't handle.

"It was very difficult to convince them to stay in the VFL, which we believe is the best standard of footy outside the AFL. It might have been a one-off (period), I'm not sure, but it has been hard to get players coming out of the AFL."

Port Melbourne has also been hampered this year after being forced to relinquish its first two home games of the season because its home ground, North Port Oval, was deemed unsafe for football following the recently completed cricket season.

This unavailability of the ground they have played at since 1927 will force the Borough to unveil the 2017 premiership flag at their first home game in round six.

Ayres said the frustrating situation was one of many disadvantages standalone clubs had to endure compared to their well-resourced AFL-aligned competitors.

"It's all the things that go with running a footy club – the finances, memberships, sponsorships, being able to utilise your ground when it is divided between football and cricket," he said.

"It's about the council and having (our ground) ready. We can't play at our home ground and it is not the first time this has happened.

"We always seem to pay a price, and from a preparation point of view that makes it a bit sad. The clubs with the AFL alignments have the opportunity to be full-time and the opportunity to have unbelievable facilities.

"It is just another hurdle for the standalone clubs to remain in the competition."

MegaA's picture
MegaA
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Agree with everything Ayres said especially the bit about having the ground ready in time. We must be the only club that has both sports but cannot get the ground ready in time. 3 times in 5 years - pretty poor.

The reporter says that we cann;t play at the ground we have been playing at since 1927 - I think he is mistaken and I believe we have been there since the 1880's.

37 times Grand finalists
16 times premiers
21 times runners up - THE MIGHTY BOROUGH!

I'M PORT MELBURNE BORN,
I'M PORT MELBOURNE BRED,
I'LL BE PORT UNTIL I'M DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Stanga2003
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Did I miss something or did Port Melbourne not win the premiership last year with Williamstown red hot favourites for the whole year too?

I think we all know that ex-AFL players aren't the be all and end all in terms of producing success! I would argue that Port's last flag has been built on developed succcess (eg Cain, Dwyer, Pinwill, Mascitti, Sandilands etc) rather than big name ex-AFL players. Ditto Williamstown in 2015 with the likes of Wheeler, Masters, Carr, Anastasio, Gibbons, etc

Maybe just a nice little distraction tool from Garry after last week's result!!

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vfa
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Intreresting article on right (Check news from Web) titled no Benefit from AFL Reserves.

 

 

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Stanga2003
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What annoys me about this is Garry's comments sparks a flurry of articles about how bad state the VFL is and how uncompetitive the standalones are when it's only been 1 Round!!!

Northern Blues brought in 4 ex-AFL recruits and it didn't help them much!! 

Such an over reaction 

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MegaA
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Stanga brings up a fair argument, that being that the vfl players played a massive roll in Port Melbourne winning the flag. They did indeed however we cannot also forget the contributions of the ex afl players in Nahas, Dwyer,Templeton etc out of the AFL.

I agree that player development is crucial however with the AFL doing away with the VfL reserves this is going to be a increasingly difficult task.

VFA can you post the article that you are referring to ? Or the link will be sufficient.

37 times Grand finalists
16 times premiers
21 times runners up - THE MIGHTY BOROUGH!

I'M PORT MELBURNE BORN,
I'M PORT MELBOURNE BRED,
I'LL BE PORT UNTIL I'M DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Wally from Will...
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Not all gloom and doom for the old VFA standalones, Port knocked off the 130 point winners from last week and Williamstown downed Essendon, normal order has been restored.

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blackrocker
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Gary might be right ...Ladder after  Round 2 has the stand alone clubs at the bottom; lets hope they impriove their positions

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paul
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"They did indeed however we cannot also forget the contributions of the ex afl players in Nahas, Dwyer,Templeton etc out of the AFL."

Nahas and Dwyer are Port Melbourne players who got picked up from the club into the AFL.

Every chance Gary gets he cries poor re the AFL clubs etc, which is very smart to try and get more sponsors, AFL funding etc, but it shouldn't be taken too seriously, Port have had 2 flags, 4 GFs and 6 PFs in the past 10 years.

The past seven years stand alone teams have had 3 flags, 4 GFs and 8 PFs, making it the most successful period since the new-look comp started. Last year the premier and minor premier were stand alones.

It will always be hard for budget clubs, of course, that's the same in any competition, but VFL stand alone clubs who operate professionally have and will continue to do well, even with AFL Vic effectively sabotaging them by scrapping devt league and reducing the salary cap.

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vfa
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Not all doom and gloom for the VFA clubs. Far from it. Port rebounded form a bad loss to beat Collingwood who won by plenty in Round one. Williamstown had a good win from Essendon running right away in last quarter. Werribee have had 2 very competitive games so far. Franklston did improve from Round one and will continue to improve. Coburg were ok in first half but capitulated in second half. I still expect Williamstown to be in the mix for top four, Port to at worst be in bottom eight. Werribee as long as they contunue to show what they have done in first 2 weeks they will win games. Frankston and Coburg can both hopefully notch a couple of wins. That is a realistic outlook on the old VFA clubs in 2018. Not making any prediction for VFL premiership as it is far too early and premature.   

 

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Ron Burger
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All those stand alone flags and finals appearances are solely from Willy and Port - who had pokies money by the barrow loads to pay 3-4 times as much for their list than the minnows (Coburg and Frankston).

So to say it’s been the most successful period for stand alones is to ignore the fact that three fell over (Bendigo, North Ballarat and Frankston), whilst one stands firm but gets smashed (Coburg), and the other two rely on pokies revenue to be competitive. 

That’s a fact. Plain and simple.

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