The requirement to be paying 90% of the salary cap is likely to spell the demise of Frankston and Coburg. Some may say 'who cares?' but these clubs do provide pathways in their respective regions for youngsters who were overlooked as 18yos and/or are late developers. Coburg have produced half a dozen odd draftees in recent years and these opportunities will be harder to come by with reduced list sizes and most AFL teams going stand alone.VFL clubs will have smaller lists but pools of 19-year-old players next year
A cut to the salary cap and father-son recruiting rule are just two of the changes being introduced to the VFL for next season.
Paul Amy, Caulfield Glen Eira Leader
October 25, 2019 5:30pm
Smaller lists, a new father-son recruiting rule and development pools of 19-year-old players are among a string of changes coming to the VFL.
Stand-alone clubs can sign 40 players next year, down from 45 in 2019, as well as six over-age players from the NAB League.
By 2021 primary lists will be cut to 38 and by 2022 to 36.
The salary cap will also be reduced from $380,000 next year to $350,000 in 2022.
Within two years clubs will be required to pay at least 90 per cent of the payment ceiling.
The cap for AFL and AFL-aligned clubs will be $150,000 by 2022.
“These measures have been put in place to not only promote consistency across State League competitions but also competitive balance within,’’ a document sent to VFL clubs from the AFL this week stated.
Each clubs’ development squad of six players will have three players who can play only VFL (Category A) and three who can play in the VFL and NAB League (Category B).
At least one 19-year-old player must be selected in the team each week, in addition to the 23rd player.
Clubs can recruit the Category A 19-year-olds from anywhere but the Category B players must come from a region designated to each club (Box Hill Hawks, for example, has been linked with Eastern Ranges).
AFL talent officers will identify the Category B players.
Clubs believe the development squads have been introduced as a way of compensating for the scrapping of the Development League two years ago.
The AFL paper said: “The development list is designed to create a stronger connection between the NAB League and the VFL by ensuring an immediate pathway exists for younger players.’’
The AFL and AFL-aligned clubs could list between 24 and 30 players this year.
But that will come down to 22 next year and 20 by 2022. They will also have development squads.
Avondale Heights star Dinny Cleary, son of Coburg legend Phil, could be the first father-son listing in the VFL next year.
“The proposed changes in primary list sizes for all clubs are designed to be more reflective of the current talent pool that participates in the competition, the revised salary cap that will be in place and in line with the objective to create greater consistency across all State Leagues,’’ the AFL paper said.
All clubs will also be able to rookie list two players classified as NGA and AFL Category B rookies.
And a father-son rule will be introduced next year.
Clubs can list a player whose father played 100 VFL games, including combined tallies (for example, 50 at Box Hill Hawks and 50 at Hawthorn).
“This rule supersedes any zone restrictions that may be in place and the player/s selected under this mechanism must still be factored into the salary cap,’’ the AFL said.
But three clubs spoken to today said there should be more reward for having a father-son listing.
List changes will still be permitted during the season.
NAB LEAGUE-—VFL ALIGNMENTS
Bendigo Pioneers: Essendon VFL/Richmond VFL (NGA)
Calder Cannons: Coburg/Essendon VFL (NGA)
Dandenong Stingrays: Frankston/Sandringham (NGA), Casey (NGA)
Eastern Ranges: Box Hill Hawks
Geelong Falcons: Werribee/Geelong VFL
Gippsland Power: Casey/Box Hill VFL (NGA)
GWV Rebels: Footscray VFL, Geelong VFL
Murray Bushrangers: Richmond VFL
Northern Knights: Northern Blues
Oakleigh Chargers: Port Melbourne/Collingwood VFL (NGA)
Sandringham Dragons: Sandringham
Tasmania Devils: North Melbourne VFL (NGA)
Western Jets: Williamstown/North Melb VFL (NGA)/Footscray VFL (NGA)