AFL Barwon makes big change to restructure plan

March 28, 2024 BY

Under the model, only one of the top two BFNL teams could possibly move into the GFNL in the following season. Photo: MARCEL BERENS/SPORTS MEDIA IMAGES

AFL BARWON will introduce non-mandatory promotion from the Bellarine FNL into the Geelong FNL in the latest shakeup to its Future of Football & Netball Project.

According to an update released earlier today (Thursday, March 28), AFL Barwon noted the changes to its earlier proposal were driven by “feedback that not all Bellarine FNL clubs currently have a desire, or means to compete at the GFNL level, however some clubs do see this at a desirable goal”.

The AFL Barwon Commission’s passed motions include adopting a two-year movement cycle for senior men’s football and senior netball between the Bellarine FNL & Geelong FNL, starting with 2024-25 and followed by 2026-27.

The previously proposed Club Championship framework will generate club performance standings across Senior and Reserves male football and A-Grade and B-Grade netball, with the standing position at the end of the home and away seasons used to calculate ranking.

At the end of every two-year cycle, there will be non-mandatory promotion from the Bellarine FNL to the Geelong FNL.

If the highest ranked Bellarine FNL club declines this opportunity, the offer will be extended to the second-highest ranked Bellarine FNL club.

An acceptance of this opportunity by either the highest or second-highest ranked Bellarine FNL club to move from the Bellarine FNL to the Geelong FNL will result in the movement of the lowest ranked Geelong FNL Club, as per the Club Championship standings.

If neither the highest nor second-highest ranked Bellarine FNL Club accepts this offer, then there will be no movement from the Geelong FNL.

A tiered approach will be adopted for 2025 onwards across the Bellarine and Geelong FNLs, in determining APPs (Allowable Player Payments) and TTPs (Total Team Points), for both football and netball.

In line with the 2024 season and previous years, clubs will continue to be consulted first before final decisions are made regarding APPs and TTPs for the following season.

These criteria will be reviewed during the 2027 season.

“The AFL Barwon Commission are very grateful for the time and effort all clubs have put in over the past six months,” AFL Barwon Chair Michelle Gerdtz said.

“The consultation process has been extensive, and we have appreciated the individual thoughts, ideas and club feedback provided during this process.

“The key outcomes for AFL Barwon at the commencement of this project was to create a competition landscape that promoted greater pathways, competitiveness, and opportunities for Clubs to succeed, as well as providing an entry point for new Clubs to be established and enter Senior Football and Netball with success.

“By expanding the Bellarine Football Netball League to include 12 teams, we now see the opportunity for Surf Coast Suns to enter senior football and netball and the mechanism has now been created for movement between the Bellarine FNL and Geelong FNLs.”