NORTH Ballarat Roosters have cut their development league team in a move they believe will benefit regional football.
The Selkirk Roosters announced yesterday they had applied to withdraw the team from the AFL Victoria Development League and are confident the state’s governing body will approve the change next week.
It is a decision the Roosters have been considering for about two months, particularly with two more stand-alone AFL teams – Richmond and Western Bulldogs – set to enter the Victorian Football League next year.
The expansion’s impact will stretch volunteer resources. It would also likely create a disjointed feel between the senior and development teams, which would play more at different venues and on different days.
North Ballarat chief executive officer Mark Patterson said the change was a good news story for Ballarat football.
“It’s a good opportunity to change the dynamics. For us, it is motivation to build stronger relationships with local clubs and for local clubs, supporters can engage more in VFL footy because they only lose those players for a game at senior level,” Patterson said.
North Ballarat will work closely with regional leagues, particularly those in the AFL Goldfields region, to ensure the process and change is managed.
This will include measures in place to stop the loading of Roosters’ listed players at clubs.North Ballarat will also meet with all clubs and coaches after finals. The Roosters aim to keep a list of about 35 players. Those not required – about 10 to 12 each week – will return to their nominated clubs.
All will be contracted to the Roosters and train with the Roosters each week to maximise their development time.
It is the same model as North Melbourne uses in its partial alignment with the Roosters.
The Roosters also have the support of North Melbourne in the decision and have agreed they should be able to manage circumstances when Kangaroos’ listed players might need to play in the development league. The restructure will allow for more TAC Cup curtain raisers with North Ballarat Rebels.