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From The Guardian
Reported by Russell Jackson
 
Footballer Jason Pongracic
 
Hardy Melbourne football fans arriving at Frankston Dolphins VFL games from the bayside end of Frankston Park are confronted by a set of towering, ornamental gates, which sit between two imposing stonework pillars. In their first life, these unusual decorative flourishes stood at the front the Old Melbourne Gaol. Now, owing to the various crises of the football club to whom they belong, they’re the only prison gates in Melbourne not greeting regular arrivals.
 
The 2017 VFL season – which kicks off on Saturday with a clash between Gary Ayres’ Port Melbourne and the Carlton-affiliated Northern Blues – will for the first time since 1966 not feature a side from Frankston. Last year the competition battlers’ licence was revoked by AFL Victoria as debts of a reported $1.5m threatened to sink the club without trace.
 
For years Frankston had been the league’s last true holdouts of the rough and tumble VFA era – a standalone club who refused to cosy up to a big-spending AFL equivalent. Every other team in Victoria’s second-tier league is, or at some point has been, aligned to an AFL side and been bolstered by unselected league players each weekend. If you played for Frankston, you played for Frankston alone. The club’s motto: “Stand strong, stand tall... Proud to stand alone.”
 
There was a time when such stubborn resistance set the club’s players and hardcore fans apart from the rest but last year, upon the 50th anniversary of the Dolphins’ first VFA/VFL appearance, only 200 supporters paid the $50 yearly membership fee. Now, those who did cough up have an eerily silent winter ahead and no team to cheer on. A club founded in 1877 and a mainstay of high level football for the last half-century has in the last six months been brought to the brink of extinction.
 
The full scale of the crisis was confirmed on 30 September last year, when AFL Victoria used AFL grand final week to bury the official statement that the Dolphins would not be given a licence to play in 2017. Two former Frankston stars would play in an AFL premiership a few days later – coached by another ex-Dolphin, Luke Beveridge – but that triumph was bittersweet for Frankston supporters as they confronted the heartbreaking expulsion of their side.

VFL Round 1(Week 1) and Practice Games

ROUND 1

SATURDAY APRIL 8

Port Melbourne vs Northern Blues at North Port Oval 2pm(VFL Live)

(Development League match starts at 11am)

PRACTICE MATCHES

SATURDAY APRIL 8

Richmond vs Essendon at Punt Road 11am

Collingwood vs North Ballarat at Holden Centre 12noon

Coburg vs Box Hill Hawks at Piranha Park 1:30pm

(Developent League match at 10:30am)

Casey Demons vs Werribee at Casey Fields 2pm

(Development League match starts at 11am)

SUNDY APRIL 9

Williamstown vs Sandrigham at Burbank Oval 1pm

(Development League match starts at 10am)

Bill Mundy resigns as North Ballarat CEO

From the Ballarat Courier
Reported by Brendan Wrigley
http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4577076/bill-mundy-walks-from-north/

North Ballarat Football Club chief executive Bill Mundy has walked from Eureka Stadium less than four months after taking the role at the embattled organisation.

Mr Mundy offered his resignation to the board on Tuesday, just one week out from the beginning of the Victorian Football League season.

Roosters chairman John Nevett said while he had made contact with Mr Mundy, who is currently on leave, he had not discussed the reasons behind his resignation.

He said he would meet with Mr Mundy on Monday and declined to make further any comment on the matter.

From the Frankston Leader
Reported by Paul Amy
Full article - Click here

Gary Buckenara at Frankston Football Club today.

Gary Buckenara at Frankston Football Club today.

FRANKSTON has until June 30 to convince AFL Victoria it should be readmitted to the VFL in 2018.

And the Dolphins have set themselves to sign 1000 members — a league best — in the next three months to prove their community support.

The club says its ability to boost membership is a key point that AFL Victoria will consider as it weighs up Frankston’s bid to regain its VFL licence.

The Dolphins went into administration before the last match of the 2016 season with debts of more than $1.5 million.

It has been reduced to $410,000, to be paid off in the next four years.

 

From the Sunday Herald-Sun
Reported by Lauren Wood
Full article - Click here

A SECRET trial of the AFL’s concept game, AFLX, conducted in Albert Park can be revealed.

Players from VFL teams Port Melbourne and Coburg faced off behind closed doors at Lakeside Stadium on Friday night.

It was the league’s third official trial of the shortened version of the game, inspired by Twenty20 cricket.

Matches are played on a soccer pitch, with smaller teams and reduced playing time.

The high-scoring affair, watched by the Sunday Herald Sun, appeared to be overseen by at least one AFL official, with members of the official supporter feedback group, AFL Fan Focus, invited to attend and share their immediate impressions.

Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park. Picture Supplied

In the trial, Port Melbourne and Coburg played four 10-minute quarters, two of them with eight players a side and two with seven.

Previous trials — including one involving North Melbourne at Arden St — have featured only seven players a side.

Five-time premiership player and former Geelong and Adelaide coach Gary Ayres — current senior coach of Port Melbourne — was recently approached by the AFL to see whether his team would be interested in taking part in the trial.

And, while he recommended a few tweaks, he was largely glowing in praise of what he saw.

“It is very, very fast. It’s very much about high-scoring, fast play,” he told the Sunday Herald Sun yesterday. “If you get burnt on a turnover or a poor kick or poor decision, generally you get scored against and scored against very quickly. It’s a bit like (the ball is) up one end one second and then up the other end in another.

“If you can retain possession, you can certainly score and score quite heavily.”

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