More talks in bid for reserves teams
The WA Football Commission has brought in a professional facilitator in a bid to broker a compromise between West Coast, Fremantle and WAFL clubs over the deadlocked AFL reserves team issue.
Consultants Robert Radley and Stuart Love from management consultancy Bain and Company will chair a summit of WA football stakeholders next Monday in what WAFC chief executive Gary Walton yesterday termed a “line-in-the-sand” bid to progress debate on the issue.
The AFL and WAFL clubs remain deadlocked on their positions in the debate.
The Eagles and Dockers are adamant they will proceed until they get reserves teams in some form.
“The future of both our clubs depends on the strength of all our players and not just the 22 playing AFL. This is not something that is going to go away,” West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said yesterday.
WAFL council of presidents spokesman Haydn Raitt yesterday repeated a threatened a shutout of AFL players if an interim proposal for Eagles and Dockers reserves teams to play each other in a series of games at the start of 2013 went ahead, or if clubs chose an AFL alignment.
“The thinking is still as it was from that (June) council of presidents meeting,” Raitt said.
“If they take their players for six weeks they can have them for the year. And if any club wants to align, the other clubs may refuse to play.”
He said WAFL clubs would support efforts to improve communication so that players could be played more often in the roles the AFL clubs wanted.
Walton said the WAFC retained an open mind on the issue but also accepted the AFL clubs’ view that their players would be better prepared if they trained and played together.
“The industry has not come together on it,” Walton said. “The AFL clubs have been doing what they have been doing and the WAFL clubs have been doing what they have been doing and we sit here today and we don’t have an outcome.
“It is a bit about drawing a line in the sand.
“That outcome could range from we can’t accommodate the AFL in the WAFL or it could be that the AFL players train and play together in some sort of competition.”
“I would like to think that the industry is mature enough to come to an outcome that is acceptable. We are very open-minded and want to see what comes out of Monday.”
Walton said it was highly unlikely there would be any permanent solution in place for next year.
“It is the start of what probably is a three-to-four-to-five-month process,” he said.
“By the time we get to it we won’t have the time to operationally put things in place for 2013.
“We are not going to get a solution that just is just one-way traffic. It has got to meet the needs of both the AFL clubs and the WAFL clubs.
“Some may say that is mission impossible but I don’t think we have given it our best shot yet.”