Dockers, Eagles plan break away from WAFL
West Coast and Fremantle have proposed pulling their players out of the WAFL for the first six weeks of next season as they forge ahead with their push for stand-alone reserves teams.
Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett and Dockers counterpart Steve Rosich signed off on their plans in a confidential letter sent to the WA Football Commission on May 24, which was obtained by The West Australian yesterday.
WA’s two AFL clubs will aim to have their second string line-ups play between four and six matches against each other immediately after next year’s NAB Cup grand final under the proposal sent to WAFC chief executive Gary Walton.
Up to 15 top-up players could be contracted from outside the WAFL system to make up the numbers under the latest scheme for the two clubs to have full control over the development of their players.
The pool of AFL-listed players would resume playing for their WAFL teams once the scratch matches finished.
The latest move comes after WAFL clubs refused to endorse an alternate model under which they would have played West Coast and Fremantle reserves sides on their byes in 2013.
Under the latest proposal:
�Games between the two AFL reserves teams would be played at WAFL venues using WAFL officials and umpires;
�Breaks between quarters would be increased to allow for extra coaching;
�Quarters would be limited to 25 minutes with no time-on, with four interchange players and no substitute;
�Players could still be reported and suspended;
�Games would be scheduled to give the full coaching staff of each of the AFL clubs a chance to attend;
�Extra scratch matches could be played to coincide with western derbies.
None of the nine WAFL clubs contacted yesterday declared support for the revised proposal.
They were first briefed on the letter on Wednesday.
West Perth president Brett Raponi labelled it a stunt. He said the AFL clubs had still not presented an improved financial incentive as part of their push.
“I think this is nothing more than a way to agitate the WAFL clubs,” Raponi said.
“It clearly has ramifications for all WAFL clubs … the logistics of it is a nightmare and I actually think it shows disrespect for the WAFL clubs and community football.”
Claremont have 15 AFL-listed players on their books and chief executive Todd Shimmon said there were better solutions.
“What we don’t need is a half-baked competition that they play when they wish to and pull out players when they don’t,” Shimmon said.
Perth chief executive Marty Atkins said reintroducing a flood of AFL-listed players mid-season would create problems.
Subiaco chief executive Peter Capes said the club would look at the proposal despite predicting it would not get up.
“They’ve always said their preferred model is to have a team in the WAFL,” Capes said.
“Based on that, you’d have to say that this doesn’t meet their preferred model either.”
A WAFC spokesman welcomed the sharing of ideas.
“It’s a pretty important issue for us and we obviously want to find the right answer,” he said.