What help is there for Divisional clubs?

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Joe Pignataro and Nick Armistead

The Divisions were were front and centre on this week’s edition of the For the Love of the Game podcast.

As we come towards the mid-way point of the season, Ivanhoe AFC (D1), Eltham College (D2), La Trobe University (D3) and Masala (D4) all remain winless from the first eight rounds.

Double promotion and relegation has long been a successful initiative allowing clubs to find their level of competition. However, the question was raised about the assistance the VAFA can offer clubs who find themselves unable to compete despite the measures already in place.

VAFA Head of Media, Nick Armistead, explained the importance of Brian Goodman’s role in the VAFA as Club Sustainability and Development Manager, whereby he works with all clubs, particularly those at risk, to ensure their sustainability in the immediate and long-term future.

Brian offers his support to clubs by helping them pen letters to the relevant council members, directing clubs to possible sponsorship opportunities with businesses in the local community as well as helping clubs with advertising, recruitment and retention of players.

During the pre-season, Masala Football Club was able to secure a new home ground for themselves at Fotheringham Reserve in Dandenong through the help of Brian Goodman and AFL Victoria Development Managers in the local area.

“These clubs want to be as good as they can, they want to operate as well as they can but sometimes they just don’t know how,” Armistead said.

When asked if Premier section clubs could possibly join forces with lower-ranked clubs to improve sustainability with regards to player retention, De La Salle President Brian Waldron told FTLOTG the idea of an interchange system was worth exploring.

“It starts with lower clubs accepting their place and it is difficult, particularly if they’re not an old boys club, to be understanding of where they can be,” Waldron said.

“Some of these lower teams in D3/D4 like Elsternwick sort of say we’re not sure how far we can go but if we can build a relationship whereby we have a transfer system rather than you trying to top up with players all the time and be highly competitive, that’s worth exploring and I think it is.”

“We have a number of players by fluke of nature that are De La boys that play at Elsternwick.”

Armistead said his main concern with the idea of an interchange agreement between Premier and Divisional clubs is the possibility of the higher-ranked clubs picking off the best players from the lower-ranked sides, further perpetuating the struggles of the Divisional club.

While there are cases of talented players moving to higher-ranked clubs in a bid to play the best standard of football possible, there is also a number of cases going the other way where players in reserves sides missing out on the opportunity to play in their senior side and opting to move to lower divisions in a bid for more game time and more opportunity to play senior football.

If your club needs a helping hand or some assistance in any areas of advertising, sponsorship, recruitment and retention, contact the VAFA & Brian Goodman.

Keep up to date with everything happening in the VAFA on VAFA Tragics released every Tuesday night with Andrew Leonard and Nick Armistead plus the VAFA’s official podcast For The Love of the Game released Wednesday afternoons with Joe Pignataro, Nick Armistead and Brian Waldron.