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And that's why it's so silly to be making sweeping statements about stand alone clubs as if they are one and the same. 

The reality remains, stand alone clubs that are run well (Nth Ballarat in early 2000s, Tassie Devils and Frankston in mid-2000s, Port and Willi in the modern era) can be more than competitive.

Frankston is a great example of what a stand alone club can be when run well, on and off the field, to how bad it can be when run incompetently. That isn't about being stand alone, it's about being a good football club. 

The fact they have to compete against AFL clubs means there is a much smaller margin for error, but the fundamentals remain the same as they have been for a long time.

vfa's picture

If it wasn't for a late callum urch goal the dolphins could have easily pinched a flag. Tassie devils made it to a prelim and reckon if they were still around could have taken the extra step. Definitely no room for error or injuries for the old vfa clubs but the pokies don't kick goals. Devolope what you have and build. I would rather have a coburg what they have now than my beloved Northcote dragons and other clubs that have bitten the dust. Coburg is still coburg and Frankston is Frankston. At least they survived and have a club. Good on werribee for having a go. Hope the zebras go alone as well.

Bearsman's picture

I thought this comment from Garry was worrying.... The stand alones need players with AFL experience to be premiership chances.I also read somwhere the VFL salary cap has been reduced this year. Is this right?


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.

"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."

vfa's picture

I thing that is ayrsey trying to get extra help. Maybe one or two with afl experience will not hurt especially the coburg, frankston and werribees of the world. Can teach the young kids. That is of course they are there for the right reason not that the vfl clubs would be forking big dollars for them. Port Melbourne and Williamstown records have been good for several years. Wonder what the win loss record for each club since 2000 is. Would be interesting. Will compile this and post.

vfa's picture

Good start with glenorchy paul. Also great to see that north hobart have reverted back to original name than hobart demons. Love their old club rooms. Steep in history. A mate of mine daimeon is a die hard glenorchy will say hello to you.


Yes Bearsman, they reduced the salary cap by $50K, claiming it was because there was now no devt league, even though most teams didn't spend $50K on their devt league match payments. Two steps in the off-season to make it harder for stand alones to win flags.

I don't think we'll see the true impact of no devt league for a couple of years. At that point stand alones will need to consistently recruit ex-AFL guys or pinch them from other VFL/state league clubs to stay competitive because it will be so hard to develop their own playing local footy.

Agree George, great to see North Hobart back, they are doing a great job off the field sorting out their debt etc. Hopefully they can get back to being a really strong club.

Bearsman's picture

Really worrying situation. Long term, there doesn't seem to be much light at the end of the tunnel for the stand alone clubs. Even if they can survive financially, it seems they will be less and less competitve each year and at some point each club will have to decide if its worth the effort to continue in a no win situation.

Got my fingers crossed for Coburg. Hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Unless they can start winning some games Mr Reaper will have no hesitation in pulling the plug if he deems their on field performance non satisfactory. 


I don't think well-run stand alone clubs will have any trouble being competitive, but the reduced salary cap and no devt league will make it harder to build that level of depth Port and Willi have had when they've won flags. 

I feel sorry for these poor kids into the future who will have to step straight into games against AFL teams after having played nothing but U18 or local footy. The cream will manage, but for others it will just be a complete head spin.

Ron Burger
Ron Burger's picture

That’s my major worry - it’s almost as if AFL Victoria don’t have the balls to restructure the competition (or don’t know how/what they want to do), so they’re just making it harder and harder for stand alones to survive hoping that we will all just drop out voluntarily.

For example. Channel Seven are once again televising only one Coburg game this year. 

How can we as a club sell decent corporate sponsorships (including signage) if there’s only a single game being televised to get them some exposure beyond the 200-500 punters who turn up to watch the (single) match at the ground? 

Its farcical - and frankly the teams which end up with the higher number of games are always the AFL reserves or aligned sides for whom money is little of an issue (if at all).

its a viscous circle / cycle and it’s bloody hard to get out if it. 


Yep, it's tough for Coburg. Port and Willi have money to invest in generating revenue. Werribee and Frankston are in their own communities separate from Melbourne from which to generate supporters, members and government support.

Coburg is in an area with few genuine football supporters, with a council who doesn't care and with little money to invest in growing the business. Add to that the recent struggles on field and it makes it tough.

The thing making them relevant for a while there where some good wins over AFL teams and particularly some draftees, but both those things have dried up of late. Hopefully some improvement as this year wears on.