Clubs to make positions known on competition proposal, GDFNL to stay put

December 6, 2023 BY

AFL Barwon boss Edward Wilson. Photo: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

AFL BARWON will have to wait to hear what member clubs think about a proposed new competition structure for 2025 and beyond.

The governing body held its third and final consultation forum with clubs at Buckley’s Entertainment Centre on Tuesday this week about the final structure of the three-tiered competition.

Speaking after the meeting, AFL Barwon general manager Ed Wilson said there were still questions that needed to be answered, but the next stage would involve a consultative period.

“This will allow clubs to go back to their internal committees to come to us and share where they see their clubs sitting in the proposed model.

“In terms of the sentiment to date, we’ve been really pleased with the engagement we’ve received.

“Clubs have definitely shared that this is the right thing for their club, but we’ve also had clubs that have shared the opposite with us and said they might see different parameters of part of what we’re proposing as being a challenge.

“We still do have a considerable group in the neutral category, and we respect that we’ve done three months of consultation.

“We’re now presenting the final product, and following this, we see some of those neutral clubs can provide their stance on where they see themselves within the new model.”

AFL Barwon will reach out to clubs individually to determine a position on the proposal within the next fortnight.

The final proposal includes a three-divisional structure with 10 teams in a Premier League, 10 teams in Division 1, and eight teams in Division 2.

AFL Barwon would enforce a “one-up, one-down” relegation/promotion model every three years based on a club championship-style ladder.

Only Senior/Reserves Football and A/B Grade Netball results will be tallied as part of the proposed promotion/relegation system.

AFL Barwon has also reeled in its salary cap figures from 2028 to 2026, with several changes since the second consultation forum on October 24.

The Premier Division will remain at $110,000 for 2025 and 2026, the Division 1 cap will be $90,000 across both years, while the Division 2 salary cap will operate at $75,000 in 2025 and $80,000 in 2026.

Wilson said AFL Barwon would provide $100,000 over three years to assist with infrastructure and junior program development to clubs placed in Division 2.

Wilson and deputy commission chair Ashley West confirmed the Surf Coast Suns will be the next club to enter the senior ranks as early as 2025.

The Armstrong Creek Sharks was also named as the next club primed to enter the fold, as part of the third consultation.

The Sharks began working on its Year Strategic Plan on Monday this week, with netball teams in age groups from Under 11s to Under 15s and football teams from Under 9s to Under 14s in 2023.

The Geelong & District Football Netball League will remain as its own competition under the AFL Barwon banner. The league has been requested for comment.

No Colac & District Football Netball League clubs have expressed interest at this stage.

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