I have long agreed with your opinion that in part the AFL is a closed shop (or at least i thought that was you opinion) some schools and some family names are quite important when drafting, although i guess we could use that for any sport.Absolutely nowhere to another League side when Peel have failed to improve enough.
As said though, South Australia has more sides and Victoria's patronising plenty of bonafide country towns. Plus you've got the competition up in the northern states and if anything, the pathway for WA kids is a little fair.
I don't agree with this 'diluting the talent' argument. When you're the AFL, it's better to have a higher standard because you rely on good games to bring in supporters and income. No one wants to see thinly spread talent in what's supposed to be your premier comp. The WAFL, meanwhile, works well with the current number of teams: it enables a relatively even competition that allows most clubs a realistic chance to win a flag, while the standard is relatively high and the benefits for that are obvious. Furthermore, WAFL sides say there aren't enough sponsors to go around, so there's that.
The thing about getting on an AFL list is you need luck.
Have an injury at 17, a long holiday, or more important things than footy in your life? Probably out. Can't get to that tryout? Somehow miss that game the recruiter who would rally hard for you was at? There are always little variables. You're allowing more kids into the system, meaning a higher chance of exposure and luck – for AFL and WAFL teams and the player himself. You're not just introducing 35 kids from Bunbury – you'd be allowing those now freed up 20 spots, that would've gone to Swans or the Thunder, to brand new kids otherwise left to play WAAFL.
There are usually some standouts and then hundreds of players very close to each other in fitness, skills, etc , then recruiters use schools and family names IMO.
The PSA schools in Perth produce a huge quantity of AFL, WAFL footballers and state cricketers etc, far and away above the usual %