Expansion Canberra

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Canberra Pear

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You'd think bringing across a Canberra senior team to the VFL would be a first step, even if there were issues with Eastlake rebranding as Canberra etc. in the old NEAFL.
That would be amazing. I would hope there's behind-the-scenes work already going on to make this happen. And for a VFLW team, too.

Back in 2014, the AFL tried to get the remaining four NEAFL teams to combine for a single team and each contribute $150k per year. Queanbeyan was not a fan of the idea, then they and Belconnen dropped out.

I think a composite Canberra team would be the best option rather any local team rebranding. A Crows rather than a Port situation.

I'd like to see it created with the expectation of being promoted into the AFL. A unique identity with no clashing mascots, uniforms with any AFL teams. That way when the time comes, the team already has history and support and can smoothly enter the competition.
 

Gigantor

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The AFL in the 90's was absolutely not an organization based on long term planning and foresight and to suggest it was is asinine. Canberra was, at the time, always mentioned as next cab off the rank and even people like Kevin Sheedy were big on Canberra getting a team. If you think Canberra was low on the AFL's list of priorities then either you weren't paying attention back then or you haven't gone and looked through the history of the game because a capital side was something the AFL seriously wanted to push against the Raiders.
You're dreaming mate.
There was zero push.
Absolutely zero.
Fitzroy playing one home game in Canberra is hardly a push (on that basis, you'd think the Alice had a chance).
There was more chance of Fitzroy moving to Nauru at the time.
In fact, just prior to the Sydney Olympics, the ACT Govt forever changed the configuration of Bruce so that footy games could no longer be played there.
That's where Fitzroy played the one home game in Canberra in 1995.
Yep, just the one.
And the ground was lost to footy a few years later.
Big push.
 

Gigantor

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You'd think bringing across a Canberra senior team to the VFL would be a first step, even if there were issues with Eastlake rebranding as Canberra etc. in the old NEAFL.
Well, they were invited and declined.
They just weren't up to it, even with a few of the Canberra clubs having big gaming sites backing them up.
Not to mention that currently, there are basically 4 decent clubs, and two clubs who regularly get thrashed.
 

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Fire

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You're dreaming mate.
There was zero push.
Absolutely zero.
Fitzroy playing one home game in Canberra is hardly a push (on that basis, you'd think the Alice had a chance).
There was more chance of Fitzroy moving to Nauru at the time.
In fact, just prior to the Sydney Olympics, the ACT Govt forever changed the configuration of Bruce so that footy games could no longer be played there.
That's where Fitzroy played the one home game in Canberra in 1995.
Yep, just the one.
And the ground was lost to footy a few years later.
Big push.
You're wrong, and seem to just be rambling for the sake of arguing.
 

Gigantor

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You're wrong, and seem to just be rambling for the sake of arguing.
Which bit is wrong?
That Fitzroy only played the one home game in Canberra?
That that one home game was played at Bruce?
That Bruce was re-configured to a rectangular shape just before the Sydney Olympics? (meaning Australian Football could never again be played at the ground)
Now this is the best bit.
At the exact time that Bruce was being re-configured to a rectangular shape, what was happening in Sydney?
Oh yeh, the AFL was spending money, wining, dining and lobbying hard so that the Olympic Stadium would remain in an oval configuration post-OLympics.
Well fancy that!
It sure looks like the AFL had Canberra in its sights!
 

Fire

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Which bit is wrong?
That Fitzroy only played the one home game in Canberra?
That that one home game was played at Bruce?
That Bruce was re-configured to a rectangular shape just before the Sydney Olympics? (meaning Australian Football could never again be played at the ground)
Now this is the best bit.
At the exact time that Bruce was being re-configured to a rectangular shape, what was happening in Sydney?
Oh yeh, the AFL was spending money, wining, dining and lobbying hard so that the Olympic Stadium would remain in an oval configuration post-OLympics.
Well fancy that!
It sure looks like the AFL had Canberra in its sights!
None of the points are wrong, they are just totally irrelevant. Hence why I described it as rambling.
 

Established1870

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Which bit is wrong?
That Fitzroy only played the one home game in Canberra?
That that one home game was played at Bruce?
That Bruce was re-configured to a rectangular shape just before the Sydney Olympics? (meaning Australian Football could never again be played at the ground)
Now this is the best bit.
At the exact time that Bruce was being re-configured to a rectangular shape, what was happening in Sydney?
Oh yeh, the AFL was spending money, wining, dining and lobbying hard so that the Olympic Stadium would remain in an oval configuration post-OLympics.
Well fancy that!
It sure looks like the AFL had Canberra in its sights!
I don't know why you're deadset on making it seem like the AFL have never cared about Canberra when it's a factually false opinion.

They've been interested in a capital side since the 80's at a minimum and have had numerous concrete offers/bids for a side with the big one being Fitzroy's "partial" relocation signed, sealed and delivered and backed by every big player in Canberra only to get blocked by the AFL who wanted them out of the league at all costs. This has been verified by Roylion (a top notch source for anything Fitzroy) numerous times all around the place regarding the Roys so why you're trying to make it seem like this is all fantasy when it's not is just downright bizarre to me.
 

Canberra Pear

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Well, they were invited and declined.
They just weren't up to it, even with a few of the Canberra clubs having big gaming sites backing them up.
Not to mention that currently, there are basically 4 decent clubs, and two clubs who regularly get thrashed.
I don't understand why you're so anti-Canberra.

Were you mugged or something in Canberra, or is it just to protect GWS' territory?

The majority of Giants supporters I've spoken to have been supportive of a Canberra team and taking more games to Sydney. If Canberra enters in a decade, Greater Western Sydney will be nearing 3 million people. Eight games is not enough in that market.
 

Gigantor

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I don't know why you're deadset on making it seem like the AFL have never cared about Canberra when it's a factually false opinion.

They've been interested in a capital side since the 80's at a minimum and have had numerous concrete offers/bids for a side with the big one being Fitzroy's "partial" relocation signed, sealed and delivered and backed by every big player in Canberra only to get blocked by the AFL who wanted them out of the league at all costs. This has been verified by Roylion (a top notch source for anything Fitzroy) numerous times all around the place regarding the Roys so why you're trying to make it seem like this is all fantasy when it's not is just downright bizarre to me.
I'm saying if Canberra was ever on the list for a team in the AFL, it was absolutely rock-bottom on that list, and just because Fitzroy played one game at Bruce in 1995 does not change that fact.
 

Gigantor

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I don't understand why you're so anti-Canberra.

Were you mugged or something in Canberra, or is it just to protect GWS' territory?

The majority of Giants supporters I've spoken to have been supportive of a Canberra team and taking more games to Sydney. If Canberra enters in a decade, Greater Western Sydney will be nearing 3 million people. Eight games is not enough in that market.
I am saying that Canberra is not, and has never been on the AFL's list for a team.
It's not a case of being anti-Canberra, I'm no more anti-Canberra than I'm anti-Hobart or anti-Lonnie, or even anti-Cairns, which has as much chance as getting a team as these other places.
I mean, we only need to look at the hard cold evidence of the last 25 years.
It's pretty clear to everyone where the AFL's priorities lie in terms of new teams, and it's not Hobart, it's not Lonnie, and it's definitely not Canberra.
ACtually, to be honest, I'm not really sure why anyone would hold an alternative view...on what basis would such a view be founded?
 

kranger

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It's pretty clear to everyone where the AFL's priorities lie in terms of new teams, and it's not Hobart, it's not Lonnie, and it's definitely not Canberra.
ACtually, to be honest, I'm not really sure why anyone would hold an alternative view...on what basis would such a view be founded?
So where is the AFL’s priority for new teams?
 

Rob

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The reason Canberra fell off the expansion prioritieslist isn't because it fell in the standings, it's because the AFL got bigger. I remember in the early 90s there was talk of teams in Ballarat and Bendigo....laughable ideas now, but back then when it took nowhere near the resources to run an AFL club it was a serious suggestion. If there had of been a serious consortium put together to run a Canberra (and Tassie for that matter) team in the late 80s we'd probably still see them running around now.
 

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Established1870

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I'm saying if Canberra was ever on the list for a team in the AFL, it was absolutely rock-bottom on that list, and just because Fitzroy played one game at Bruce in 1995 does not change that fact.
And this is exhibit #294 of you not knowing what you're talking about because it's been shown repeatedly that the AFL were seriously interested in Canberra getting their own side and was certainly more of a priority at the time then Sydney 2 and most other places that are getting suggested for teams now. And again, if it wasn't for the AFL trying to kill off Fitzroy at all costs, then chances are they turn into a full Canberra side considering their relocation proposal got all the major backing it needed from the Chief Minister to the people who ran Bruce to even the ******* Raiders.

For you to say that Canberra was rock-bottom as an expansion priority is a flat out falsehood.
 

Established1870

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The reason Canberra fell off the expansion prioritieslist isn't because it fell in the standings, it's because the AFL got bigger. I remember in the early 90s there was talk of teams in Ballarat and Bendigo....laughable ideas now, but back then when it took nowhere near the resources to run an AFL club it was a serious suggestion. If there had of been a serious consortium put together to run a Canberra (and Tassie for that matter) team in the late 80s we'd probably still see them running around now.
There was talk of Canberra coming into the league in 86 if Fitzroy relocated to Brisbane. And if the SANFL didn't change their position and Port stayed with the SANFL's side, then I'd wager good money on Canberra or Tassie getting a side in place of the Crows.

Then you have teams who weren't Fitzroy like Melbourne, North, Footscray and Hawthorn who all severely struggled back then. If it got too untenable for one of them to stay in Melbourne then it's fair to say Canberra would have been the #1 spot to relocate too like the Lions tried to do.


If the dice rolled even instead of odd at least once on any one of those scenarios changing, then Canberra would have had an AFL team for 25-35 years by now.
 

Roylion

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In August 1995 Fitzroy looked at a possible relocation to Canberra by offering to play up to seven home games in Canberra in the 1996 season. They were guaranteed a minimum of an extra $350,000 per year, irrespective of crowd sizes.

Fitzroy's application to play in Canberra had the support of 'AFL for Canberra' organisation, the Canberra Raiders, the Ainslee Football Club and the ACT chief minister who had offered for the ACT government to upgrade Bruce Stadium if there were two national teams playing out of the stadium. Bruce Stadium would therefore have served as the home-ground of Fitzroy and the Raiders. In fact, when adding in corporate sponsorship, and ground rights at Bruce Stadium (which would have been upgraded), Fitzroy's projections showed they would have made $1 million extra per season.

An AFL commissioner admitted on 21st November 1995 that the reason why the AFL knocked Fitzroy’s proposal back was because they wanted Port Adelaide in the competition (which ideally would be 16 teams) and therefore wanted to keep the pressure on Fitzroy to merge. They knew that the Canberra proposal, given the widespread support for it in Canberra, was an AFL life-line to Fitzroy…another “White Knight” so to speak, that the AFL didn’t want.

The full timeline of events was:

1995 - 27th May - Fitzroy played their Round 9 home game in Canberra against West Coast
1995 - 15th June - Ian Collins publicly supported Fitzroy's application to play four home games in Canberra in 1996, after application by Fitzroy was submitted (Malcolm Conn: The Australian)
1995 - 25th August - AFL commission rejected Fitzroy's application to play four home games in Canberra in Season 1996
1995 - 28th August - AFL Commissioner Ron Evans told Dyson Hore-Lacy that if Fitzroy were prepared to play the majority of its home games in Canberra, the Commission might look at it. Fitzroy had eleven home games, means that the "majority" was seven.
1995 - September - North Melbourne made a formal written merger proposal to Fitzroy
1995 - October - "AFL for Canberra" endeavours to meet with Fitzroy Football Club, the Ainslee Football Club, the ACT Chief Minister and the AFL commission to discuss a deal where Fitzroy (who had agreed to do so) might play up to seven home games in Canberra. Request for meeting was rejected by the AFL.
1996 - 21st February - Ross Oakley informs Dyson Hore-Lacy that the AFL would not support any initiative for Fitzroy to play any home games in Canberra. Publicly calls Fitzroy their "weakest product" and that the Canberra initiative would not be "creditable".
1996 – March 6. Fitzroy board authorised board members Dyson Hore-Lacy, Elaine Findlay and Robert Johnstone to enter non-binding merger agreements with other AFL clubs.

Fitzroy would have possibly been known as the Fitzroy-Canberra Lions, playing in the red gold and blue Fitzroy jumper , maybe with a CFC logo jumper in Canberra (and a FFC logo elsewhwere)

Make of that what you will. You could argue that the AFL didn't value Canberra as a viable option for an AFL team or alternatively you could argue that they did but they wanted to keep the pressure on Fitzroy to merge in order to keep teams at 16.
 

Canberra Pear

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The AFL's desire to stay at 16 teams screwed over Canberra (and Fitzroy), but it almost screwed over GWS, too.

Even a decade later, the AFL clearly wanted to stay at 16 teams if possible. They were willing to give North Melbourne $100m to relocate, and pushed as hard as they could.

If North had moved, the AFL never would have needed to expand for GC17. Western Sydney was borne out of keeping even teams for the broadcast deal. Western Sydney was still a desired expansion for the AFL, but was only included so soon to keep the numbers even (similar to my hopes for Tasmania dragging in Canberra at the same time).

If North moved, would GWS even exist yet? I doubt they would have come in as early as they did. The AFL may have even tried another their luck with another relocation.
 

Gigantor

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Plenty of pie in the sky ideas have emerged from footy people in Canberra. No one is doubting that.
For a while ACT footy had its head office in the upper floor of the grand stand at Phillip. In the foyer was a 3D design of how Phillip would look when their wished for team entered the then VFL - must have been sitting there for 3 or 4 years. I think it was still there the last time I had to appear before a tribunal circa 1988.
The point remains that the AFL has never been interested.
By the mid 90s, Fitzroy was considering any idea from anywhere to try and survive. Of course the Canberra idea would have looked like manna from heaven.
ACT Government might have given support for Fiztroy to play games at Bruce, but within 12 months of this "proposal', the ACT Government had already made plans to re-configure Bruce as a rectangular stadium, which happened.
At the exact time that the ACT Government was making Bruce a rectangular stadium, the AFL was moving heaven and Earth to ensure that the Olympic stadium remained oval shaped post-Olympics.
Whichever way you slice and dice it, the AFL had a pretty clear vision of the game early on - and it definitely didn't include Canberra.
If you sit back and think about why the AFL would prefer just about anywhere else but Canberra, its pretty obvious why they never entertained it seriously.
 

Roylion

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By the mid 90s, Fitzroy was considering any idea from anywhere to try and survive. Of course the Canberra idea would have looked like manna from heaven.
ACT Government might have given support for Fiztroy to play games at Bruce, but within 12 months of this "proposal', the ACT Government had already made plans to re-configure Bruce as a rectangular stadium, which happened.
And that was because Fitzroy's proposal was rejected by the AFL. It was clear that the ACT was not going to have its own AFL team.
 

Gigantor

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And that was because Fitzroy's proposal was rejected by the AFL. It was clear that the ACT was not going to have its own AFL team.
Yes...because...at no stage was the AFL interested.
That's the central part of this discussion.
 

Roylion

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Yes...because...at no stage was the AFL interested.
The AFL were interested, but it was a matter of priorities.

Ian Collins initially ok'd it and said it would recieve a favorable response at the Commission. Then the Commission realised it could be a lifeline to Fitzroy (Fitzroy had openly stated if they could secure an extra $1 million in funding they would not seek a merger). So the Commission changed the terms from the initial four home game proposal by saying that it would need to be at least seven home games. (Ron Evans). When Fitzroy agreed with this, the AFL Commission outright rejected it.

The AFL Commission clearly wanted to keep the pressure on Fitzroy to merge (there has been several merger proposals from the AFL to Fitzroy previously such as the Port Adelaide-Fitzroy merger proposal to form the "Port Power Lions" (derisively nicknamed the 'powerlines') and at that stage, achieving a merger and keeping the competition at 16 clubs was more important than a Victorian club partially or totally relocating to Canberra.
 

Gigantor

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I agree that already being at 16 clubs at that point was a complication, but when it's all said and done, it's pretty clear that Canberra was not on the AFL's wish-list.
Compare these sorts of half-baked ideas being thrown around with the hundreds of millions of dollars the AFL has thrown at the Suns and the Giants to get them off the ground.
The AFL was never, ever going to do that for a Canberra team, and will never do it.
I'll just say it again, sitting around the board table, at no point has the possibility of an AFL team being based permanently in Canberra ever been on the agenda.
 

threenewpadlocks

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Yes...because...at no stage was the AFL interested.
That's the central part of this discussion.
Or the other evidence we have that the AFL wanted to remove Fitzroy at all costs outweighed anything else that you can take away as a Canberaa team.

The Canberra deal to Fitzroy was a relatively good financial one, but the AFL had their Melbourne-based team rationalisation with Fitzroy in their crosshairs and there's every chance the financials of the Canberra deal could have been doubled - or halved - and it wouldn't have knocked the AFL of its course.

The point that's trying to be made is that the generous support from Canberra financially and otherwise for the Fitzroy deal proves that it could have supported a team, because if it believed that it couldn't, it never would have put the support up in the first place.
 

Roylion

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at no point has the possibility of an AFL team being based permanently in Canberra ever been on the agenda.
It was on the agenda. In 1995 and early 1996. Dyson Hore-Lacy has said to me personally that it was a possibility.

There was however, no way a Canberra team was going to be set up from scratch.
 

Canberra Pear

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It was on the agenda. In 1995 and early 1996. Dyson Hore-Lacy has said to me personally that it was a possibility.

There was however, no way a Canberra team was going to be set up from scratch.
That's a quality source!

So Canberra was found suitable to host a team, but not a priority, which is what I think most of us already suspected. That population has grown by more than 50% by then, so our suitability has only grown.

A second team from Adelaide was an obvious priority. If Fitzroy had remained, then Canberra getting its own team would have meant 18 teams in the '90s, which is bordering on Super League stuff.

The AFL Commission clearly wanted to keep the pressure on Fitzroy to merge (there has been several merger proposals from the AFL to Fitzroy previously such as the Port Adelaide-Fitzroy merger proposal to form the "Port Power Lions" (derisively nicknamed the 'powerlines') and at that stage, achieving a merger and keeping the competition at 16 clubs was more important than a Victorian club partially or totally relocating to Canberra.
That would have been an interesting move. Port got a couple of Fitzroy players after the merge (Primus, Paxman and Morton). Can't imagine the heritage 'Roys red, blue and gold would be popular against the Crows though.

If you could have chosen, would you have preferred Brisbane, the Power Lions, or the Canberra Lions?
 

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