THE AFL Gippsland ‘Leagues and Competitions Review 2018’ was finalised on Friday this week, September 21 and once again it’s the clubs from the old Alberton league which have featured in the final recommendations.

Chief among those recommendations is the formation of a new 15-club competition to include all six of the old Alberton clubs and nine of the 10 Mid Gippsland clubs, with the exception of Yarragon Football Netball Club which will join the Ellinbank and District Football League.

But in a variation on the first draft of the changes, the 15 clubs will first play each other over the first 15 rounds of the season and then compete in a rivalry series over the final five week, in a 20-week season to include two byes.

The rivalry groups would be as follows:

  • Fish Creek, Foster, Stony Creek, Tarwin and Toora.
  • Boolarra, Yinnar, Mirboo North, Morwell East and MDU.
  • Hill End, Newborough, Thorpdale, Trafalgar and YYN.

The top eight will play off in a four-week final series.

Club colours

“AFL Gippsland recognises the importance of club colours, mascots and identity and that the recommendation may provide a challenge regarding clashes in the following instances: Boolarra v MDU, Trafalgar v Fish Creek, Foster v Mirboo North, and Toora v Yinnar. AFL Gippsland will offer a one-off clash subsidy of $3500 to one club within the acknowledged clash for purchase of new playing uniform across all grades.

Other recommendations

  • Recommendation Two: Tooradin Dalmore and the Warragul Industrials to join the West Gippsland FNC in season 2019.
  • Recommendation Three: Yarragon Football Netball Club to join the Ellinbank & District FL
  • Recommendation Four: Develop and implement an underage structure that meets the requirements of clubs to field a full complement of teams, whilst giving clubs the best opportunity to retain juniors and transition them into senior footballers.
  • Recommendation Five: Develop and implement strategies that promote transition from Junior Football to Senior Competitions
  • Recommendation Six: Realignment of all league Area Agreements to form a uniform permit structure
  • Recommendation Seven: A junior football structure is developed in West Gippsland that is aligned with the demographic and growth expected throughout the region in years to come.
  • Recommendation Eight: Identify and implement operational efficiencies that will assist in the reduction of volunteer workload and provide development opportunities for volunteers at all levels.

AFL Gippsland will also open discussions with Gippsland League clubs, to explore the possibility of an East/West Conference structure for implementation at a future date (possibly 2020). Open dialogue will also be had with AFL South East, AFL Outer East and interested clubs.

AFL Gippsland to open discussion with Omeo District Football Netball League regarding minimum age restriction in the U16 competition to alleviate possible health and safety concerns while being mindful of the current lack of players at that level.

Clubs and leagues have until Friday September 28, 2018 to lodge am appeal against the implementation of the review recommendations, to be received by AFL Victoria.

Netball

There are 11 netball recommendations but AFL Gippsland has backed off on doing away with the Under 13 competition, instead leaving it up to the various leagues to decide.