- May 27, 2013
- AFL Club
- Gold Coast
The northern clubs' reserves sides could join the VFL under an option raised by the AFL
AFL 2020: Northern state clubs in VFL, Sydney, GWS, Brisbane, Gold Coast, NEAFL in trouble, Victorian state league expansion
The reserves sides of the four northern AFL clubs could be forced to join the VFL in a major shake-up of the second level, <a href="https://www.afl.com.au/news/432408/eastern-seaboard-second-tier-comp-on-radar-concerns-for-neafl" target="_blank">reports</a> <i>AFL Media</i>.
Obviously it's unclear at this point whether the NEAFL will survive the current global financial situation but if we do end up joining the VFL in 2021 as a result then I believe that would be a fantastic outcome, not only for our club but Gold Coast footy in general. It's no secret that the standard of football in the NEAFL is a distant fourth behind the big 3 (VFL, SANFL and WAFL) and that has really hurt our ability to develop players. The VFL is the ideal competition for our reserves to be competing in and it will certainly raise internal standards within the club as we adjust to a higher standard of footy with our 2nds. Our best academy kids would get to play a mixture of VFL, NAB League and national championships footy throughout their draft year which would be an awesome pathway into the AFL.
The added benefit for us of the NEAFL disbanding would be that Southport wouldn't be inhibited from being a powerhouse club again. Due to NEAFL rules, the Sharks were forced to forego their reserves team and I think they weren't even allowed to have an U18s team in the highest state level competition so that essentially ruined any chance of Southport developing AFL draftees like they used to (see M.Ashcroft, N.Riewoldt, K.Tippett, D.Beams etc). Naturally, you would expect Southport to start pulling in the highest quality juniors from around the local GC junior leagues and become an absolute powerhouse at all QAFL levels again and that would be an excellent outcome for us with our exclusive access to Gold Coast academy juniors.
Curiously, we are one of two northern clubs to have previously competed in the VFL. We played a season in the VFL in 2010 and finished 10th. The only other northern club to compete in the VFL was the Sydney and their last season was 1999 when they finished 7th on the ladder (just missed the finals). They also had a brief alignment with Port Melbourne in the VFL in 2001-02 but didn't have complete control of the way their players were developed then.
What do you all think about disbanding the NEAFL and joining the VFL?