Two options presented in AFL Barwon restructure rethink

March 21, 2024 BY

The Surf Coast Suns have long been planned to be the next AFL Barwon senior side, but the identity of the proposed 12th side is less clear. Photo: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

CLUBS will come to a decision on AFL Barwon’s proposed league overhaul restructure on Monday, March 25 after the regional sporting body made updates to its original proposal.

The biggest change from the updated proposal delays movement between two new divisions until at least 2026, with two movement cycle options available to clubs.

The first option is a two-year cycle with singular clubs going upwards to the Geelong Football Netball League and downward to the Bellarine Football Netball League, while the other option is a three-year cycle with the same movements.

Geelong’s competition will act as a first division with the Bellarine competition to act as the second. Both current Boards of both leagues will remain in place.

The updated proposal also names a 12-team Bellarine competition with Surf Coast Suns Football Netball Club named as one of the two new teams to enter the fold.

The 12th team will be announced in the future.

Overall club success will be the determining factor in a club’s upward and downward movement, with club championship points being allocated across Seniors football, Reserves football, A Grade netball and B Grade netball in the selected cycle period.

“This framework recognises the equal importance of both Football and Netball to whole club sustainability and success,” the updated proposal stated.

“Through combining the finishing places at the end of the H&A season, as per the allocations above, the Club Championship points for the year are totalled.

“The combined totals of all years within the cycle (two-year or three-year cycle in effect), determines the Club Championship standings in each League.”

The new proposal notes this framework is the same as the previous proposal.

“Based on Club Championship standings, the top-placed Club in the Bellarine FNL is moved upward, and the bottom-placed Club in the Geelong FNL is moved downward.

“The first movement between Leagues is proposed for the start of the 2026 season, with Club Championship standings from the 2024 & 2025 seasons calculated, to determine the first movement between Leagues, for 2026.”

AFL Barwon is welcoming prospective clubs to apply for the 12th license in the Bellarine competition, which will have a deadline of April 24.

Applying clubs will need to meet “rigorous” criteriam including facilities, financials, and participation levels.

Only clubs within the Barwon region can apply, meaning Geelong & District Football Netball Club and Colac & District Football Netball Club organisations would be eligible, as well as junior-only clubs that may meet the criteria.

Both the Suns and the unnamed 12th club would begin play in 2025.

To view the full updated proposal, click HERE.

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