New ideas floated as CHFL presidents discuss structure

Newlyn president Simon Dwyer has presented a seeded fixture model as a possible way forward for the Central Highlands Football League.

Dwyer, and representatives from the league’s 18 clubs, met on Wednesday night to discuss the structure of the competition, which has been a hot topic in recent years.

While forming part of a regular president’s meeting, the gathering followed a story published by The Courier last week which outlined Eddy Comelli’s ideas for the league. Here, the CHFL president revealed a plan to split the competition into two divisions, but still compete for one premiership.

The basis of Comelli’s thoughts, and the centre of widespread discussion for a change in format, has been to give senior football teams a better prospect of finals.

Dwyer was one president to put forward an alternative idea for consideration, with his focus centering on the fixture.

The key aspects of his plan are:

  • 16 home and away rounds, with one ladder and one premiership
  • The 18 teams to be grouped 1-6, 7-12 and 13-18 based on the previous year’s finishing positions post finals
  • The next season’s fixture to see each team play sides in its group both home and away, consisting of 10 rounds
  • To complete the other six rounds, a team plays three rivals from each of the other groups
  • A final eight system is then played out, as per the current format

The weighted fixture is similar to that used by the AFL, with Dwyer keen to produce a format that doesn’t involve dramatic change, but still allows for better competitiveness across the league.

Dwyer said he was warming to the idea of a wildcard playoff system being used to decide lower-end finals positions, possibly involving teams placed seventh to 10th.

Comelli said his personal ideas for change weren’t met with the same level of enthusiasm he encountered in his initial discussions with club representatives.

He now hoped clubs would discuss the issue, with the league structure again set to be on the agenda at the next meeting of presidents in late October.

Comelli said he expected by June 30 next year a set of recommendations could be put to the clubs for a decision ahead of the 2018 season.