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aj9172's picture
aj9172
Last seen: 1 day 8 hours ago
Joined: 26/08/2019 - 16:45
A new VFL/VFA
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Hey all,

Since it's the off season and there isn't much to do, I thought I'd toss this up and see if we can solve the world's (ok, the standalone clubs') problems heading into an uncertain future. I know there are a million and one opinions out there about where the competition is headed.....my personal opinion is that the AFL clubs won't be satisfied in the long run until there is equity for them all in how their reserves players spend their weekends away from playing in the AFL sides.....which means the league will finally go back to a full reserves competition. It won't include any aligned or standalone clubs, because AFL clubs will consider us unworthy opponents for their professional boys wanting to prepare for the big time. A second division is quite pointless, because there will be no promotion/relegation allowed. And so, if my theory eventuates, where does that leave our clubs? Hopefully the AFL will recognise that the heartland of the game must have its' own state league - there must be a stepping stone to the AFL, and somewhere semi-elite that undrafted players can continue to play at a high level. This means hopefully a reconstituted state league with reasonable assistance from the AFL (yes, I know all of this is just theory, but roll with me ok).

As we are, we clearly don't have enough clubs to form a decent league. I would think we need either a 12 or 16 team competition (the number dependent on whether country sides are involved). So we have 6 right now.....I would think Casey wouldn't field a standalone, but maybe Box Hill and Sandy might under the right circumstances? So, that would leave us needing 4 metro clubs and possibly 4 country clubs (or regional representative "franchises"). 

My question to you lot is, which clubs out there are strong enough to compete in such a comp? A few clubs do spring to mind as possibles - Keilor, Vermont, Noble Park, Deer Park, Bundoora, Strathmore, Cranbourne, Greenvale, Spotswood, Heidelberg, Montmorency.....they spring to mind as successful clubs in their metro leagues. If regional Victoria is involved there's Leongatha, Traralgon, Strathfieldsaye, Golden Square, North Ballarat, Melton, Darley, etc etc etc.....though personally I would sooner see districts like Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland etc represented by a region team if it came to it.

Here's another curly to throw in, how about giving Fitzroy an invite?

So, who do you think should be involved?

Bearsman's picture
Bearsman
Last seen: 4 days 21 hours ago
Joined: 01/08/2014 - 20:20

I'd love to see a genuine Victorian state league. 12 teams would be ideal - play each other twice. As for the 'who', there are a number of financially sound suburban and country clubs who could step up - if they wanted to. Not sure it would be that easy to recruit them to a new league though. Another bonus would be possibly getting the game start times back to the traditional times. Personally I love the Sat/Sun 2pm start. Maybe we could even have a reserves comp? It would be great to be able to go to the footy and see two games again..

We might even get the Record back? I guess that would be too much to hope for..

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 5 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

For Frankston at least, the night games are a far better timeslot than the traditional 2 pm start. Maybe the reserves could play afternoon curtain raisers if the seniors play in the evening. Or you could offer the ground up to local or junior clubs to play as curtain raisers. Getting more fans from the local leagues would be essential for making the VFL viable. 

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 week 4 hours ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

Will Melbourne setting up base camp at Caulfield be the death knell for Casey?  

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 5 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

It might spell problems for Casey. Melbourne may want to make Caulfield the home of their AFLW program as well, which leaves only the reserves playing at Casey Fields. If Caulfield is going to be their main admin and training facility, I don't see why they wouldn't want to have their reserves based there as well. Even if they were to keep the Casey name, it would have less meaning than the Bulldogs reserves using the Footscray name. The club would basically be an in-house reserves program with a different name.

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 week 4 hours ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

The other question I suppose is would anybody care if Casey disappeared?  Their connection to Springvale is tenuous at best and they don't appear to have built up any sort of following at Cranbourne so their ability to survive without Melbourne would be very problematic 

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NorthPort
Last seen: 1 day 18 hours ago
Joined: 03/11/2003 - 00:00

Regional representation would be great, I'd love to see the regional comps fielding a rep side, the best of the ovens and Murray, the best of the Gippsland comps etc. Even the Bendigo Gold would be great. I miss travelling up to the QEO.

It would be hard to convince the local clubs to get on board though, giving up their best players.. Maybe  rule of no more than 3-4 games in representative colours. 

 


* It's time to restore the VFA name.

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 5 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

I think we would also need to be giving something back to these local clubs, more than just "we take 3-4 of your best players and you get exposure". My dad has suggested before the idea of advertising local clubs around the ground, which I think would be a good step. Having local clubs and players directly involved on game day is also important, such as inviting them to play games as curtain raisers or something like the longest kick competition that Frankston held at half-time during the Box Hill game this year. For local leagues to throw the effort into supporting the VFL, they need something to gain from it too. 

As for Casey, I don't think they'd have the membership numbers to sustain a standalone club. We went up there in R3 this year and while there were a few Casey chants in the crowd, they really didn't have a strong presence. Unless the City of Casey stepped in to prop up the club and promote it to draw supporters in, I think whatever's left of the club would probably fold. 

paul
Last seen: 2 hours 46 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

Casey surviving would be dependent on the financial deal between Casey council and Melbourne, wouldn't it? If they both figure that deal is still worthwhile, albeit with some changes if the training base is moved, then you'd think the VFL team would continue as is.

digs
Last seen: 2 days 13 hours ago
Joined: 31/05/2007 - 00:00

Hope you miss coming to the "Rooster" home NorthPort !

We might be from the bush. but we ain't green

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 week 4 hours ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

AFL teams seem to find a way to wriggle out of those deals if they want, eg the St Kilda/Seaford fiasco - if Melbourne want to relocate to Caulfield what motivation would there be for them to maintain a presence at Casey? Whatever the outcome, Casey would appear to be the most precarious of all the aligned teams - if Melbourne had the financials to go stand-alone then Casey would be dead in the water maybe. 

paul
Last seen: 2 hours 46 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

The motivation would be $$ as part of the deal and exposure to a very young and fast growing municipality. For a club with a small supporter base tapping into that community has been a strategic move, getting their players front and centre with a lot of potential supporters through the various aspects of the deal.

Will be interesting to see what they decide once they go to Caulfield, but if I was them I'd want to maintain some form of presence.

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 week 4 hours ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

Casey have been playing out of Cranbourne for many years now in its various guises and never seem to attract much of a crowd so i wonder how effective their penetration is into that market - i only see a decent crowd there when the AFLW is playing and maybe that will move to Caulfield as well - interesting times ahead for the old Springvale mob 

paul
Last seen: 2 hours 46 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

The VFL side is a pretty small part of it, it's more about the exposure of the AFL players to that community via camps and other programs.

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 week 4 hours ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

I know Melbourne supporters are often wrongly stereotyped but i wonder if the MFC have picked up many additional members or sponsors from that area - maybe if they get into the schools there may be benefits down the track    

paul
Last seen: 2 hours 46 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

Yeah that's their plan. They signed a 30-year community partnership deal with Casey council involving school visits, community programs, business engagement etc etc and are about half way through it.

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Bearsman
Last seen: 4 days 21 hours ago
Joined: 01/08/2014 - 20:20

I heard an interview on SEN last week with Kate Roffey and she was asked what would happen to the Casey alignment when Melbourne move to Caulfield, and she said the current arrangement would 'absolutely' continue. I know they tell a few porkies when it suits them, but she sounded convincing.

MegaA
Last seen: 8 hours 40 min ago
Joined: 12/10/2012 - 23:04

I'm.one of the few to like the competition as is due to the extra exposure, the better crowds and the string belief that under the right circumstances stand alone sides can win the competition however if their was to be a split in the competition ild start off with a 10 team competition, 18 rounds - if clubs seem to be able to cope financially ild suggest adding additional sides.

One very important re introduction ild like to see is reserves return to the competition, at present having players play elsewhere and not your seconds side  makes development a tough task. 

To sweeten the competition and increase interest for both the public and media ild also include regional sides - the expected decline in standards due to no AFL clubs could see regional sides who were once defeated heavily once again become competitive. 

Ild have the following 10 sides

PORT MELBOURNE,

Williamstown,

Preston,

Werribee,

Coburg,

Frankston, 

Box Hill,

A representative side from Bendigo,

Fitzroy - I like the suggestion AJ and something that left me bewildered when thinking why they didn't join the competition after exiting the VFL. The potential interest they could bring is huge

And North Ballarat - so that I can gloat to Digs when Port beats them by triple figures like the good old days  😀

Top 4 finals series, week 1 1 v 2 winner straight to final, 3 v 4 loser eliminated

Week 2, loser of 1 v 2 v winner of 3 v 4 - for a place in the GF

Week 3 - GRAND FINAL !!!

 

17 PREMIERSHIPS, 19 X Runners up

THE VFLS MOST SUCCESSFUL CLUB - THE MIGHTY PORT MELBOURNE BOROUGH!

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

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 5 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

There are admittedly some AFL clubs that can draw good crowds for reserves games. If anything did go right for Frankston the day we played Collingwood, it was the gate revenue from the amount of Pies fans in attendance (although I'm less than fond of us being outnumbered on our own turf.) And if every AFL reserves side drew crowds like that it would be great, but unfourtunately that's not the case. Collingwood, although they get good crowds, sitll play some of their games at the AIA centre which from what I've seen has no facilities for specators. Same with North Melbourne playing at Arden St - nothing more than an office building with a footy oval next to it. They don't even provide toilet facilities for specators, so God help you if the sports complex next door is closed and you can't use their bathrooms. The image of the VFL suffers when many clubs don't even treat it as a real event and give no considerations to crowds. If Arden St had a wall around it, would North Melbourne even bother opening the gates to let people watch? 

For this competition to ever work in its current format, I think you would need to do the following; 

- Encourage the AFL clubs to treat it as a worthy competition in its own right, not just a player development league. With reserves teams already playing at their club's traditional home grounds, how about lean into the tribalism and hearken back to the old days when these clubs genuinely represented the suburbs they're named after? Bring these grounds up to standard for spectators, put more effort toward marketing games, actually treat it as an event with importance and try to create an exciting atmosphere. 

- Introduce some form of aid to struggling clubs, particularly the standalones. A hybrid of semi-professional suburban clubs and AFL teams is going to be inherently unbalanced and difficult for standalone clubs to thrive in. It's a lot to ask a bunch of semi-professionals with day jobs (including tradies putting in full weeks of physical labour) to go up against full-time footballers who have access to superior training facilities and whose job it is to be the best athletes they can possibly be. Especially when they're getting paid less than what they could make playing local footy. So raise the salary cap and at the very least step in and help lift these clubs up when they're struggling. I think it's only fair for the AFL to look after the clubs that feed recruits into its competition. 

And in the long term, get the interstate clubs out of the VFL. A semi-professional competition is just not feasible across multiple states, and it leads to some garbage timeslots interstate teams are flown in and out on the same day. I'm sure those players would rather be playing in their home states as well? So figure out whatever needs to be done for those clubs to play within their own states and let the VFL be an actual state league again. 

digs
Last seen: 2 days 13 hours ago
Joined: 31/05/2007 - 00:00

Hi Mega,

Great to see you still have your anti bias against the Roosters.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

The Roosters were NEVER defeated by Port by triple figures as you have stated.

The only triple figure result i can find is when in 2006 the roosters defeated Port by 119 Points.

The only result that I care about is a 45 Point win 2008 Grand Final, a result that still lays in your guts to this day & I"m afraid you will have to take to your grave with you.

Cheers

Have a nice Christmas.

 

We might be from the bush. but we ain't green

MegaA
Last seen: 8 hours 40 min ago
Joined: 12/10/2012 - 23:04

That's just another runners up amongst 21 seasons, one of many, we care little.

You have a great Christmas, ild ask you to post me your address so that I can send you some Port Melbourne merchandise but I worry it may send you in a state of despair realising that you have turned your back on the greatest club in the competitions history only to follow one that's no longer in the comp !!@

 

HO HO HO MERRY CHRISTMAS!

17 PREMIERSHIPS, 19 X Runners up

THE VFLS MOST SUCCESSFUL CLUB - THE MIGHTY PORT MELBOURNE BOROUGH!

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

billythekid
Last seen: 2 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 22/11/2004 - 00:00

I hope so as it was stupid move in the first place!

billythekid
Last seen: 2 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 22/11/2004 - 00:00

Pretty ordinary you left the Zebras off that list!

I suggest the Sandringham would be a better prospect than either Preston or Coburg!

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 5 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

In an ideal world a standalone VFL would include all nine of the remaining VFA clubs. But I don't see how Casey survive without being propped up by Melbourne or the City of Casey, As for Sandringham, from what I've heard the support has dwindled over the past few years. If it's feasible for the Zebras to go standalone and draw those supporters back then I'd love to see them continue in a new VFL. 

MegaA
Last seen: 8 hours 40 min ago
Joined: 12/10/2012 - 23:04

Billy I'll assume you mean.my list, the reason I didn't include the Zebras was the same as up the dolphins had stated, a lack of support (same situation as Springvale).

Some 10 years ago it was said that the zebras wanted to end their allurement but then overturned those plans due to a belief that it was too difficult, I expect in this day and age it's harder still. I would of course love all former vfa clubs not just survive but flourish including Sandy.

17 PREMIERSHIPS, 19 X Runners up

THE VFLS MOST SUCCESSFUL CLUB - THE MIGHTY PORT MELBOURNE BOROUGH!

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

aj9172's picture
aj9172
Last seen: 1 day 8 hours ago
Joined: 26/08/2019 - 16:45

Great discussion fellas.......a few things......

Digs, is there any chance the Roosters have got their ducks in order again and could join a new comp? Would love to see them back in.

On the topic of Casey.....well, if there's an AFL reserves they have no hope of surviving beyond the short term. If Melbourne honour their agreement, they can survive to the end of it, but no further. It begs an interesting thought though.....Cranbourne Eagles are a very strong club.....wonder if they could take over the facility at Casey Fields and become a genuine VFL club. They'd have heaps of support and a very strong culture. They wouldn't have any loyalty to a local league as they have been shunted around between leagues for the past few years.

Mega, the Fitzroy thing is a left-field idea.....as a bit of a romantic I would love to think it could work. I only wonder if the current Fitzroy club would have the infrastructure or cash to pull it off. Imagine the crowds they could pull in if it did work.....there are still a lot of diehards out there pining for the Roys.

I agree that Sandy should definitely be given a chance.....you can't dismiss that much history and tradition. Billy, do you reckon the club can survive without the Saints these days? I'd love to see them back in business as a standalone club.

As far as regional clubs go.....I think established clubs over rep teams.....mainly because a rep team would require clubs to sign off on the idea at each league level, and I can't picture too many clubs being willing to sacrifice their best players on an ongoing basis. They will always vote selfishly. 

I think ten Melbourne clubs and two regional (Roosters and maybe a Bendigo club?) would be the ideal start for the comp, with a final five.

paul
Last seen: 2 hours 46 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

This idea would be brilliant. Hopefully we can find a bazillionaire with fond memories of the VFA to fund it!

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 week 4 hours ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

Not forgetting Fitzroy have already had a brief dalliance in the VFL with Coburg in 2000 - maybe they are happy trying to make their way in Premier Division in the VAFA next year but you make a good point, they have a latent support base that would be a huge addition to the VFL if it ever materialised  

digs
Last seen: 2 days 13 hours ago
Joined: 31/05/2007 - 00:00

AJ,

Unfortunately the North Ballarat Roosters are are a thing of the past & there is NO chance of the club going on any further than the Ballarat Football League. Seem to enjoy the Big fish in a small pond syndrome.

There is still a large interest in the VFL with many young players travelling to Melbourne based clubs & a lot of Footy fans still hanging out for a Western district team to represent the area.

Maybe hopefully sooner than later.

We might be from the bush. but we ain't green

Wally from Will...
Last seen: 1 week 4 hours ago
Joined: 07/09/2009 - 11:55

What about a GWV team if not North Ballarat, digs? That would create a pathway for the players from the under18/19's and make use of that stadium which might become a white elephant if the Bulldogs ever pull the pin on playing games there - what else does it get used for? 

digs
Last seen: 2 days 13 hours ago
Joined: 31/05/2007 - 00:00

Unlikely ever become a white elephant Wal.
Is a the moment home to the North Ballarat league teams for however long is unknown.
The Western United soccer team has played three games there this season Rugby has been played there & has the drop in wicket facility in place to play Cricket.
Utilised just last week for the Christmas carols concert.
Still a big interest in the VFL competition in Ballarat & many would love to see a team representative of the region, but unfortunately it won't be North Ballarat.
A great facility to put to use if it ever eventuates.

We might be from the bush. but we ain't green

aj9172's picture
aj9172
Last seen: 1 day 8 hours ago
Joined: 26/08/2019 - 16:45

Paul, the AFL owe it to Victoria (and definitely ultimately benefit from) to give us a strong financial backing for a solid state league. If the game suffers here, it suffers nationally. When it comes to each of the competing clubs, that's another matter.

Wally, I remember very well when Fitzroy aligned with Coburg.....really didn't think that could work. Fitzroy fans want nothing other than their own team to support. 

Digs, really disappointing to hear the Roosters have that attitude. I guess like Geelong West they will forever be part of the great history of the comp. I think Ballarat needs to be part of a state comp personally, so hopefully there is another way in the future.

 

paul
Last seen: 2 hours 46 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

Unfortunately, while the AFL is still funding the operational costs of state leagues, they don't want to give money to state league clubs anymore. Without that club funding, and the TV coverage that comes with the involvement of AFL clubs, I fear a new VFA would just be a glorified local league that wouldn't survive.

Would be great to be proven wrong on that one, but the AFL and its clubs see value of the standalones being in assessing their players for draft potential against those currently on AFL lists.

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 5 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

Securing TV coverage would be essential for the competition to survive on its own. I was reading the VFA book I got for Christmas and it specifically makes note of Channel 10 abandoning the VFA coverage in 1982 in favour of League games, considering it the death blow for the VFA even if the serious decline wasn't apparent to everyone yet.

UpTheDolphins's picture
UpTheDolphins
Last seen: 5 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 04/07/2023 - 14:52

Securing TV coverage would be essential for the competition to survive on its own. I was reading the VFA book I got for Christmas and it specifically makes note of Channel 10 abandoning the VFA coverage in 1982 in favour of League games, considering it the death blow for the VFA even if the serious decline wasn't apparent to everyone yet.

paul
Last seen: 2 hours 46 min ago
Joined: 11/04/2006 - 00:00

Yep, if it could somehow get a TV deal with games leading in AFL coverage it might have a chance.