AFL Gippsland have released their final leagues and competitions recommendations review to clubs after receiving feedback from clubs and leagues from the initial review a few weeks ago.

Here are all the recommendations AFL Gippsland have outlined in their final review:


Facilitate a structure that would see all current Alberton Football Netball League (Fish Creek, Foster, MDU, Stony Creek, Tarwin, Toora) and Mid Gippsland Football and Netball Association (Boolarra, Yinnar, Morwell East, Yallourn-Yallourn North, Trafalgar, Newborough, Hill End, Thorpdale, Mirboo North) clubs participate in one competition across four grades – Senior, Reserves, U18 and U16’s.

• Governance and administration structure to be determined by member clubs • Rivalry conference fixture to limit travel impact

• AFL Gippsland uniform clash subsidy in year one (more details below)

The Commission deemed structural change necessary following 100% of AFNL clubs suggesting that a sixteam competition was not viable and with clubs’ futures in doubt should a change not be considered. These concerns were enhanced further by DWWWW Football Netball Club falling into recession. AFL Gippsland looks to promote sustainability of all clubs in the region, while factoring in the following:

• Competitive balance

• Meet the growth demands within the region

• Provide all clubs the opportunity to find their competitive and sustainable level

• Promote competition equalisation

• Consider geographic and economic factors that restrict and/or burden club members.

In developing the new competition structure, the commission considered a number of factors including population sizes, growth forecasts, geography, travel times, junior programs and likelihood of on field success. The following competition structure is planned:


A 20-round home and away fixture has been designed to offer a fair competition, provide old rivalries an opportunity to continue and alleviate the burden of travel.

• Rounds 1 – 15 play each team once (includes bye)

• Rounds 16 – 20 Rivalry Rounds over a 5-week period (includes a further bye)

• 20-week home & away season (18 games)

• Top 8 finals series (Total of 9 finals games over 4 weeks)

Rival Groupings

Top 8 Finals Systems

2019 Travel

Salary & Points Cap

Club Colours and Identity

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

•Toora v Yinnar

AFL Gippsland will offer a one-off clash subsidy of $3,500 to one club within the acknowledged clash for purchase of new playing uniform across all grades.


Tooradin Dalmore and the Warragul Industrials to join the West Gippsland FNC in season 2019

AFL Gippsland considered applications from Tooradin Dalmore Football Club and Warragul industrials in accordance with 3.0 of the Victoria Country Handbook and moved to support both.

Tooradin Dalmore previously competed in the West Gippsland Football League from 1975 until 2004, after which it competed in various forms of what is now known as the South East Football Netball League which will cease in 2019.

TDFC is felt to be a good fit with WGFNC both geographically and demographically and also offers an opportunity to renew historical rivalries.

Warragul Industrials Football Club developed a plan to shift to the West Gippsland FNC and began to implement a number of strategies that would see it be competitive and grow in line with projected size of the region and league. A strong financial model will see them establish the foundations of a very strong club moving forward.

Both clubs acknowledge a focus on junior alignment and development is required to ensure a successful transition and future vitality.


Yarragon Football Netball Club to join the Ellinbank & District FL

Yarragon Football Netball Club will join the Ellinbank & District FL in 2019 to ensure future prosperity and success. It is felt that a change would improve the club’s ability to attract and retain players from its U10s, U12s, U14s and very strong Auskick program by aligning itself with the Warragul fringe and shifting with the demographic of growth in the region.

Also, with Warragul Industrials joining the WGFNC, Yarragon will ensure the EDFL remained a 10-team league, which all clubs have indicated is very important.

New Structure Across Gippsland



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. In 2019, league age groups will be as follows:

• A junior working group will be introduced with a focus on developing initiatives and age group structures to retain junior footballers across Gippsland. This group will look to develop a plan for implementation in 2020.

• East Gippsland Football Netball League to adopt U17 age structure in 2019 and used as a case study for consideration across other competitions.

During the extensive consultation process, a vast majority of clubs indicated a key focus of the review needed to be on the makeup of junior football with it becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain sufficient players to fill a full complement of teams at the U16 and U18 level.

In 2018, of the 125 U16 and U18 teams eligible to play, just 107 of those teams were in a position to field a side. It’s also apparent that players are being asked to participate in multiple games across a weekend through club permits and playing up age groups, which poses a major problem when looking to create competitive competitions and the retention of players. Participation numbers have remained steady over the past 10 years; therefore, a stringent football development plan is required to work alongside a football structure that offers a stable, competitive environment for all participants.

A set of draft recommendations were tabled throughout the consultation process which included a move away from U16 and U18 age groups to U17. Following extensive feedback, it was decided that further consultation was required before implementing this across Gippsland, however a trial will be adopted in the East Gippsland Football Netball League in 2019.


Develop and implement strategies that promote transition from Junior Football to Senior Competitions

Player retention statistics highlight that players leave football during two key phases, Auskick to Junior football and between the ages of 14 and 18 years. To ensure players are retained during these critical stages, it is imperative that all senior clubs are formally aligned with a junior club (if not already) to ensure numbers are sufficient and we continue to build on participation rates, ensure sustainability and assist in each clubs points cap.

In the ensuing months, local Football Development Managers will work with both Junior and Senior clubs to develop an alignment template that will be implemented across Gippsland in 2020 and assist in initiating conversation with clubs not yet aligned.



Realignment of all league Area Agreements to form a uniform permit structure

Currently there are more than 40 separate Area Agreements across Gippsland meaning Match Day Permits, Overage Special Dispensation Permits and the associated rules and processes become confusing and quite time consuming to manage.

It is believed that with a more aligned system, Match Day Permits will reduce dramatically with greater transparency allowing clubs to fill sides.

Football Development Managers will work to realign the permit structure prior to the 2019 season.


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.

The Warragul and District Junior Football League is at capacity with 15 teams competing across U10, U12 and U14 currently. With huge growth forecast within this area in the coming years, a structure is required to allow new clubs to form or existing clubs to start or enhance their junior capacity.


Identify and implement operational efficiencies that will assist in the reduction of volunteer workload and provide development opportunities for volunteers at all levels

Volunteer retention and workload was a consistent concern among every club at junior and senior level and therefore will become a focus in the ensuing years as the sustainability and viability of the football environment is built on our volunteer network.

Support of our volunteers, providing the opportunity to develop the necessary skills and recognition is integral in ensuring all stakeholders can attract and retain good quality people.


• AFL Gippsland will 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.


Affected stakeholders wishing to appeal against the implementation of the review recommendations to be received by AFL Victoria following the procedures of AFL Victoria Country Handbook 4.7 are able to do so by Friday September 28, 2018 (no later than)

The following points should be noted:

  • The Appeal Panel shall be established by AFL Victoria as it sees fit.
  • An appeal of review recommendations must be lodged in writing with Stephen O’Donohue, AFL Victoria, Community Football & Development Manager within seven (7) clear days of receiving written notification of the final review recommendations.
  • The notice of appeal shall be accompanied by:
  1. a copy of the final review recommendations
  2. the sum of $500 for Senior appellants and $250 for Junior appellants, for costs of the appeal, which shall not be refunded in any circumstances; and a further sum of $1500 for Senior appellants and $750 for Junior appellants which sum shall be dealt with as follows:
  3. where the appeal is upheld, the sum paid by the club shall be refunded; or
  4. where the Appeal Panel dismisses the appeal and determines that the appellants reason(s) for the appeal did not have sufficient merit, it may determine in its absolute discretion, that all, or part of the sum not be refunded.
  • The appeal shall be considered within twenty-one (21) days
  • Prior to the appeal, the appellant shall lodge with the Community Football & Development Manager
  1. Any facts, reasons and arguments concerning the review recommendations
  2. Any other matters which they desire to be taken into account by the Appeal Panel
  • The hearing before the Appeal Panel shall be by submission only




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