AFL Riverina Competitions Review Proposed Recommendations Announced

AFL Riverina and AFL NSW/ACT are proud to announce the proposed recommendations from the independent AFL Riverina Competitions Review.

The AFL Riverina Competitions Review, jointly commissioned by AFL Riverina and AFL NSW/ACT, sought to determine the optimal competitions structures and pathways in the Riverina/MIA region to facilitate competitive balance, ensure community club sustainability and drive the future growth of AFL. The review has been led by independent consultant David Burgess.

The review involved a comprehensive research phase and consultation which included a significant initial stakeholder survey that included individuals and all clubs as well as a set of six comprehensive face-to-face forums that took place in Narrandera, Temora and Wagga Wagga in February 2019 to further test the initial insights.

The 14 proposed key recommendations are summarised here:-

  1. Implement Under 16s junior competition, and change Senior Club entry Point to Under 18s to maximise transition and retention
  2. Reduce on-field player numbers across all junior and youth football competitions to generate scale and enhance player experience
  3. Revise WDJFNL junior football competitions age group structure to manage differences in club participation numbers to ensure sustainability
  4. SWJFNL junior football age group structure to align with Under 18s and maximise player retention and transition
  5. Revise senior football competition structures into a club based tiered model to ensure club growth and sustainability, and enhance competitive balance and player retention
  6. Develop criteria for club participation and club minimum standards to provide a framework for aspirational clubs, enhance standards and drive club development and improvement
  7. Enable club Joint Ventures to manage the impacts of changing population and demographical trends to enhance player retention and club sustainability
  8. Establish new clubs in areas with population growth and low penetration rates
  9. Encourage same day competition to enhance game day experience where possible
  10. Adjust game timings to facilitate same day competition opportunities and new competition structures
  11. Continued focus on equalisation measures to enhance club sustainability and competitive balance
  12. Fully integrate Female Football Competitions within AFL Riverina and its clubs
  13. Enhance the recruitment and retention of umpires through the creation of a regional training base in MIA
  14. Ensure Netball remains integrated in the AFL Riverina football competition structures to safeguard community club culture

Additional detail on the recommendations can be found here

“These recommendations provide AFL Riverina with a plan to manage current and future challenges that our clubs and competitions face and to ensure that AFL Riverina has viable and sustainable competitions in the future .

The recommendations are designed to ensure club sustainability and continue to support and grow our great game in the Riverina and MIA for many years to come.

We hope the clubs take the opportunity to assess their future direction and opportunities and we will be there to support clubs in undertaking that assessment. The release of the recommendations is not the end of a process but is another step in the planning process for the future.”

Michael Irons – AFL Riverina Board Chairperson

“The independent AFL Riverina Competitions Review has been an extremely valuable and insightful process. We have listened to the key stakeholders, analysed data and trends, and applied learnings from other regions to develop proposed key recommendations which we believe will help ensure a sustainable future for community football in this region.

There is a clear case for change, and we hope that all stakeholders will embrace these recommendations.”

Steven Mahar – AFL NSW/ACT –  Regional Manager ACT and Southern NSW

Club communication sessions took place on Sunday 18th August and all clubs will now be provided with a two-week feedback period in which to submit written responses to the proposed recommendations.

Pending final approval, the Final Recommendations and Implementation plan with be released early October.