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From The Age website
Reported by Roy Ward and Daniel Cherny
Full article - Click here


The Northern Blues should have been playing Essendon on their Preston City Oval home ground on Saturday, continuing a 138-year tradition.

Instead the club is being wound up after AFL affiliates Carlton were forced to pull their support for the venture as they cut costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Northern Bullants in 2004, before they became the Northern Blues.

The Northern Bullants in 2004, before they became the Northern Blues.CREDIT:THE AGE

After years of struggle with debt and identity, those running the Northern Blues, formerly known as the Preston Bullants, felt the club had a bright future, including a recently agreed extension of their partnership with Carlton.

Northern Blues president Stephen Papal knew nothing could keep his club going once Carlton stepped away from a partnership started when it offered the club a lifeline in 2007.



"If it wasn't for Carlton we wouldn't have existed at all," Papal told The Age.

"We felt we were ready for a good season. This feels like we have run a marathon and were about to get the prize only to have it snatched from our hands."

Papal said Carlton couldn't have been more supportive and chief executive Cain Liddle and head of football Brad Lloyd were in regular contact with him to talk through club and player matters.

Possible VFL/NEAFL merger?

This morning on Triple M's Hot Breakfast Eddie McGuire spoke about state league football and what could be next.

one thing brought up was a possible merger between VFL and NEAFL. 

my question would be especially for VFL stand alone clubs what the costings would be especially with travel and accomodation etc.



Carlton cut ties with Preston

CARLTON has been forced to end its alignment with its VFL affiliate the Northern Blues as the ongoing financial implications of the League's COVID-19 shutdown continues to wreak havoc.

CONTRACT TALKS STOP Big names in limbo as COVID causes cash crisis

The club has also parted ways with VFL coach Josh Fraser as a result of the situation, with the former Collingwood and Gold Coast ruckman holding a dual role with the club for the last five years.

Sandringham is standing down all its employees ahead of an expected financial squeeze brought on by the later start to the VFL season.

And the Zebras face the prospect of being without players and coaches from their alignment partner St Kilda when the season does begin.

The kick-off to the VFL season and all other state leagues has been postponed until after May 31.

The club said today it was standing down its staff from Friday, April 3, until when it was notified the competition would be resuming.


Just read this in Rupert's Rag, got any legs???


Have we seen the last of the VFL as we know it, depending on what happens in 2020?

The five stand-alone teams in Coburg, Frankston, Port Melbourne, Werribee and Williamstown are preparing for a 10-team VFL competition that could include suburban powerhouses such as Vermont, Keilor and Balwyn, and potentially Box Hill, Preston and Sandringham.

That would leave 10 Victorian-based AFL teams to compete in a reserves competition.



2018 VFL - Grand Final - Casey v Box Hill
Casey Demons
Box Hill Hawks
Total votes: 11