By AFLQ Media
Senior men’s football in South East Queensland will have a different look in 2020, with AFL Queensland announcing a revamped competition structure that includes the incorporation of the four Northern Rivers teams into the new QFA model.
Over the past three months a committee consisting of nine club representatives and two AFL Queensland staff, with all competitions and regions equally represented, conducted a review of the QFA Division 1, 2 & 3 competitions. The QAFL was not included in the review process and will continue in its current form.
The committee established that the current structure featuring promotion and relegation was unsustainable long term due to the distances club may be asked to travel dependent on which division they are competing in.
With a clear charter of finding a model that would be sustainable long term and scalable to adapt to future team movement, the committee established three structure options for consideration by all clubs.
Following feedback from all clubs, there was overwhelming support for a structure that did not include promotion and relegation and reduced the travel burden for those clubs not aspiring to play in Division 1. Consideration was also given to the existing four team Northern Rivers competition, with a view to ensure the long term sustainability of a competition that incorporated clubs in that region.
The new model will see the continuation of the Division 1 Hart Sport Cup in its current form, however it will now be underpinned by a Division 2 North and Division 2 South competition. The Division 2 competitions will be predominantly made up of teams currently competing in QFA Division 2 & 3, as well as the four Northern Rivers clubs. The North competition will include clubs from the northern side of Brisbane through to Gympie, whilst the South competition will be clubs on the southern side of Brisbane through to Lismore.
No clubs have been formally allocated to competitions, as AFL Queensland will go through a consultation process to understand where each club feel their best competition alignment is.
Clubs in the current Division 1 Hart Sport Cup will be given the first opportunity to retain their position and then once the number of clubs has been determined, other clubs will be given the chance to make a request to join the competition.
AFL Queensland’s State Manager – Senior Football Operations, Barry Gibson, said that whilst clubs were in favour of the structural change in 2017, as the structure unfolded and the travel issues became more prevalent, it was incumbent on AFL Queensland to review the structure prior to the end of the 2019 season.
“After one year of the promotion and relegation system the feedback from clubs was quite positive, however at the end of year two some significant challenges presented themselves and needed to be addressed,” Mr. Gibson said.
“Having the club representatives driving the review process allowed us to ensure we developed a structure that addressed the majority of club concerns.
“It was clear there was a strong desire to develop a model that could be sustainable long term and one that didn’t require constant review, however at the same time had some flexibility to deal with teams entering or leaving the competitions.
“Full credit goes to the review committee for providing security to the Northern Rivers clubs, as their existing four team competition was quite vulnerable in the sense of one club not continuing would make the competition untenable,” Mr. Gibson added.
AFL Queensland will work with its member clubs over the coming months to not only finalise team nominations and finals series structures, but also implement a salary cap and player points system that will come into effect in 2020.
A formal announcement as to the makeup of every competition will occur once this process has been completed.