They basically bankroll every level of football in the country, provide development help, guidance, employ community engagement people to help, and so on.My point is that the short sighted approach the AFL has adopted will ulimately affect them negatively.
I see the local community based game is under stress & threat like never before. The community level of Australian rules provides a critical mass of players, officials & volunteers that are a potential strength for the game & another pathway/resource for the professional game. Until only a few years ago that was the only pathway to the big leagues. The AFL tries to develop its own pathways & basically ignore the community game ( or pay lip service to it) Reducing the size & benefits the community game provides will undermine even the AFL in time.
Dont get me wrong, I believe in a strong vibrant professional game, but it shouldnt strangle the very roots it comes from.
There clearly is a pathway for guys to come from local/country leagues, to 2nd tier comps, to the AFL - judging off the numbers recruited, that pathway is as strong as it's been for 20+ years.
I appreciate that as a giant of the market, they have almost a monopoly, but I really do think they're doing as much as can be expected.
Comparing local footy club finances to equivalent local cricket, or any other sport, there's simply no comparing.
What the hell else are they meant to do?