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From the Moreland Leader
Reported by Chris Cavanagh,
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COBURG  has described Frankston’s demise as a “wake-up call” but says it has a long-term vision, which will ensure it remains viable well into the future.

The debt-ridden Dolphins had their VFL licence for 2017 revoked late last month after the stand-alone club was forced into the hands of ­administrators.

Robbie Fox is one of Coburg’s leading draft hopefuls. Picture: Carmelo Bazzano

Their departure means only four stand-alone sides will compete in the VFL next year — Coburg, Port Melbourne, Williamstown and North Ballarat — with the other 10 either aligned with or fully operated by AFL clubs.

Coburg general manager Craig Lees said the loss of Frankston was disappointing but the Lions were only getting stronger each year and were not going anywhere anytime soon.

“I guess it’s probably more a wake-up call for past players that love their footy club,” he said.

“If you don’t buy a membership or attend functions, you don’t know how long it’s going to be there for.

“You can only talk about how you govern your own footy club and we’ve got a really strong board and really strong sponsors so we’re really in a wonderful position.

“Our attendances have steadily climbed over the three years we’ve been stand-alone so as long as the team remains competitive and we keep producing draftees, we’ll be okay with the support of AFL Victoria.”

Lees said Coburg had established itself as a destination club since going stand-alone three years ago after Richmond broke away from the alignment to start its own VFL side.

“What we’ve done is just work within our means,” he said. “We haven’t been silly with player payments or any of that. We are here to provide that opportunity to TAC Cup players and we want to make sure we continue to build a really strong culture that develops young people.”

Coburg has had two major success stories since going alone, with Adam Saad drafted to Gold Coast Suns in 2014 and Michael Hartley finding his way to Essendon last year. There is interest in Lions Luke Ryan, Tom Goodwin and Robbie Fox heading into next month’s drafts.