Expansion Why the National comp can never be national

Carringbush2010

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It’s fair to say there’s been a lot of talk over the years of the inequities of the national comp in favour of the Victorian clubs and there is some fair arguments to back that up. Let’s be frank, whether or not it is a level playing field is irrelevant, the AFL is borne out of a state comp and by and large, some opinions rightly or wrongly still see the comp as “Vic central”. Back in the late 80s, to simplify, the West Australian football commission bailed out the VFL – financially- in exchange for a licence to bring in a club from the West, enter the West Coast Eagles. This is how it looks externally, because of the financial situation it was a fait accompli - feel free to correct me if warranted.

I’m not going to get into arguments here, I’m here to state facts. Let’s look at the competition if it was completely and undeniably fair.

There would be an even amount of teams spread across the nation, all clubs would get equal access to draft and each team has equal travel (even though this is geographically impossible).

I’ll state clearly that this is how I think it would look like – make no mistake this is not what I would prefer it’s just how I think it would appear – if it were to be – completely “fair”

3 teams from each state/territory (taking into account ACT is NSW), the West Australian, South Australian, QLD and NSW teams would remain and the current Vic clubs would go back to the VFL and South Melbourne and Fitzroy would be reinstated into the VFL. The desired result would be that

There would be new teams from Vic, Tas and the NT, all up 21 teams. Much like the big bash, new teams.

Obviously we can see numerous faults in this model. For starters it is highly unlikely that Tasmania and the NT could sustain 3 teams each, hazard a guess the crow eaters and sandgropers would likely go follow the WAFL and SANFL. A certainty would be that in Victoria the VFL would once again be the most attended and watched league in the land. It is more than likely the top end talent would go to the VFL teams in Victoria leaving the 2nd tier players in the National comp.

Like it or lump it, clearly the bulk of football followers are in Victoria. It may leave a sour taste in your mouth but the fact is the game began in Victoria – it is the home of footy, it’s impossible to argue that and the numbers are there to back it up– this cannot be disputed.

Since the inception of the “AFL” the attendance and TV ratings are that of a population 3 or 4 times our current 24 million. For example only 4 years has the attendance been less than 5 million since 1990 regularly 6 million plus and even 4 seasons of 7 million plus. Overall attendance of the AFL is around the 15th mark – take into consideration, our population and the lesser amount of games (by a lot!) compare to other leagues and on average attendance it is 4th, this is very healthy amongst the world leagues.

Point of all that is whether or not the opinion is that it is “unfair” or the term “V/AFL” HQ are doing something right and it is not going to change anytime soon. Admittedly the league did lose a lot of supporters when Brisbane took over Fitzroy and South Melbourne left to go to, and become Sydney and again, hazard a guess HQ won’t be endorsing any mergers or takeovers of current Vic clubs for that reason. Even the lesser Vic clubs have 40K plus members – that’s just too many bums on seats to snub in the name of a “National” and even comp.

On a sidenote the GF is the largest attended single championship event in the world (source Wikipedia) and that is why the GF will stay at the MCG – capacity- and no I won’t be debating on this subject, there are other threads you can post your view on that topic.

Clearly the comp is not as even as would be liked by HQ – regardless of the rhetoric from the mouthpieces that it is “National” and “even”, that’s just insulting our intelligence.

In a nutshell it is what it is and living in WA, being at the coal face I hear it more than those in Vic and the opinions are justified but to have a truly “National” and “equal” comp is simply not achievable. So you have options, if you are not from Victoria you can follow your local league or accept it for what it is and support your team – hard and passionate like! And relish when you win it (deny that WC, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Port and inevitably GWS fans).


So do you follow or do you snub? Your choice
 

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King Brown

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Aug 12, 2017
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People just whinge and look for excuses as to why their team underperforms.

Adelaide will be raging favourites no matter who they play and the ground shouldn’t matter.

Four straight years of non Vic teams losing to Victorian ones has enabled a kind of victim mentality, but no one outside Victoria was complaining when non Vic teams dominated between 1992-2006.

The tide will turn. Unlikely to be many Vic teams celebrating in the next few years.
 

Illinois Nazi

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I don't see that being "fair" means every state has to have to same number of teams. I don't think it's "unfair" that Victoria has more teams than WA, given the difference in population, participation etc. There probably is an over-supply of Victorian teams but that's just the way the competition was put together. Is it "unfair" that NSW and Qld have the same number of teams as WA and SA, when WA and SA love the sport while NSW and Qld don't give a shit? Probably. Certainly unfair on Tassie but surely we all know by now that the AFL is based on financial balance sheets not on sporting passion.
 

Illinois Nazi

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People just whinge and look for excuses as to why their team underperforms.

Adelaide will be raging favourites no matter who they play and the ground shouldn’t matter.
Victorian supporters are always quick to say "the ground shouldn't matter". And they're right, it shouldn't. But it does.
 

Illinois Nazi

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West Coast have won more than half their GFs at the venue.

That’s better than Collingwood over the same period.
That doesn't mean the venue is irrelevant or "fair". It just means that those teams played well enough to overcome the disadvantage of playing in Melbourne.
 

King Brown

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That doesn't mean the venue is irrelevant or "fair". It just means that those teams played well enough to overcome the disadvantage of playing in Melbourne.
You'll have to quantify how it isn't fair - how many non-Vic teams underperformed due to the venue?

Just saying it's not fair because you didn't get a game at your pissant stadium doesn't mean anything.

Since the Eagles won their first premiership at the MCG, non-Vic clubs are 11 premierships to 14. That is better than the ratio of non-Vic to Vic clubs (6:10) in that time (excluding expansion clubs that have yet to make a GF). Should non-Vic clubs have won more premierships in that time, despite comprising fewer overall clubs?

As opposed to unfair, non-Vic clubs have done better than you would expect given the imbalance.

The other thing ridiculous about 'too many Melbourne clubs' whinging from non-Vic fans is that if the number of clubs in Melbourne was rationalised to 5-6 teams, then Melbourne clubs would absolutely dominate. There would be no dilution of talent from Vic born players, and the non-Vic clubs would barely get a look in because Collingwood et al would be super teams.
 
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JackOutback

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West Coast have won more than half their GFs at the venue.

That’s better than Collingwood over the same period.
How many might they have won at a home or neutral ground?

It was a lot of words to try and justify some inherent unfairness in the competition. Most non-Victorian teams and fans accept the realities of how football developed, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't stop trying to repair some of the flaws.
 

King Brown

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How many might they have won at a home or neutral ground?

It was a lot of words to try and justify some inherent unfairness in the competition. Most non-Victorian teams and fans accept the realities of how football developed, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't stop trying to repair some of the flaws.
You have an entire footy mad state of 2 million people split between two clubs. We can address that imbalance, and it won’t be good for West Coast
 

Howard Littlejohn

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There are all sorts of models which COULD have occurred, but we have the one that did.

A form of promotion/relegation out of state leagues may have been optimal - but fraught with danger given how important NSW and Qld are to media rights.
The finances of the day necessitated the bailing out of the VFL, and some clubs - particularly Collingwood who (like Carlton 30 years later) were never going to be forced to do a South Melbourne. And the SANFL were determined not join as a junior partner - until Port forced their hand.
 

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