Below is an extract from Fox Footy
UNDER-THE-RADAR RESERVES ISSUE HAS ‘GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY’
North Melbourne coach David Noble has warned the gap between AFL and VFL levels has “grown significantly”, making it harder to prepare players for the top level.
The 21-team VFL, which now covers the entire east coast, sees Melbourne as the only unbeaten side (just like at AFL level). Six clubs have a percentage of 134 or better.
At the bottom however, two teams are winless - Essendon’s VFL side and stand-alone club Williamstown - with five clubs having a percentage of 76 or less.
Part of the issue may be having full-time players on AFL lists against part-timers.
As local footy writer Paul Amy tweeted on Sunday evening: “The six Vic VFL stand-alone clubs (Williamstown, Coburg, Northern Bullants, Port Melbourne, Werribee and Frankston) have between them played 30 matches this season - and won seven.
“Some officials think the gap between them and the AFL and aligned teams has widened this year. Let’s hope they can all climb the ladder quickly. We need them strong.d: I'll have to buy him a beer! | 01:04
On Saturday night when asked about the form of young tall Callum Coleman-Jones, who has spent much of his first season at North Melbourne in the state league, Noble suggested the gap between it and the AFL was becoming a bigger problem.
“The step between the AFL and the VFL now has grown. It’s grown significantly,” Noble said in his post-match press conference.
“His second half was probably not too bad, he just needs to get more time under his belt at AFL level because of the speed and intensity of the game.”
Asked a follow-up question on the same topic, Noble conceded: “It’s a bit (of a concern).
“The problem is, particularly for those younger guys, to get the games into them to make sure they’re absolutely ready to go.
“Example, I think Paul Curtis was again better tonight because he actually had the tempo and the understanding from last week, which we know you don’t get until you expose those guys. We talk about playing at AFL speed, sometimes that’s quite hard to do at VFL level.
“The ball’s not as reliable, it doesn’t get delivered as well, the systems are bit slower, the execution’s a bit more off. Trying to get our guys to play with a higher intensity and urgency at a VFL level is tricky, it’s really tricky.”
He added: “At the moment it’s just where the competition is. We’re almost national in the VFL, we took a bunch of top-ups with our AFL guys up to Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, Brisbane had a pretty strong list and we got a bit of a touch-up.
“It’s what it is, you just have to make it work.”
Link to the full show