The West Australian Football Commission has finalised its annual review of Rules and Regulations for the West Australian Football League following the conclusion of the 2019 Optus WAFL Premiership Season.
The annual review is an important part of the WAFC's focus to deliver a high standard, competitive and sustainable WAFL competition, where all clubs have an opportunity to play finals and win premierships.
WAFC Executive Manager WAFL & Football Operations Scott Baker said that the 2019 review had focussed on the competitive balance of the WAFL to ensure it was a close and exciting competition every season.
“We know fans want close matches, more upsets, and a showcase of the best talent on display. To achieve this, we will be implementing immediate rule changes for the 2020 season and considering a series of equalisation principals for the following year,” he said.
“Competitive balance is absolutely vital to the ongoing success of the WAFL and its ability to attract and retain new fans, members, supporters and sponsors. We want everyone to attend games each week knowing that any club has a genuine chance of winning.”
“We have sought feedback from the WAFL clubs on a range of recommendations to ensure the competition remains competitive, sustainable and successful into the future, before finalising any decisions.”
“Equalisation measures will now be implemented with the clear intent of closing the gap between the lower and higher placed clubs to continue to drive a more competitive and exciting competition.”
“This includes some rules specific to Subiaco Football Club, in response to their dominance over the last decade, and calls for the WAFC to assist the lower placed clubs to reach the same heights.”
“Factors such as Subiaco’s culture, professionalism and the unrelenting commitment from the whole playing group, have helped to establish their club as the benchmark, which can't be controlled by equalisation measures.”
“We have been clear that we do not want to implement measures that mean Subiaco will have to cut players from their list and tear at the fabric of the club. At the same time, we have considered options that would limit Subiaco from continuing to add out-of-zone recruits to their list, as a way of allowing other clubs to close the gap,” he said.
Specific recruiting rules will be applied to Subiaco Football Club for 2020 allowing the club to retain or replace current players, but not recruit additional players that are above one (1) point in value, according to the WAFL Rules and Regulations.
“We believe these measures will help spread the available talent amongst all WAFL clubs and contribute to competitive balance, while also supporting the foundation of the WAFL competition being built on developing and recruiting talent from local Districts.”
“Our new talent development model, which was launched at the beginning of last season, supports this principle and over time, will continue to improve the quality of players coming through each WAFL club’s zone.”
In 2019, non-AFL aligned WAFL clubs had 76% of players on average coming from their local District, which is something the WAFC wishes to see increase further in coming years.
For the 2020 season, the strategy to gradually reduce the Player Recruitment Points allocated to each club will encourage more home-grown talent to be added to each WAFL club’s list.
After reducing the baseline Player Recruitment Points allocation across the competition from 130 to 120 last year, the baseline will be reduced again to 100 points in 2020.
“This will give clubs less points to use on interstate or non-District recruits that are worth up to 12 points and encourage them to focus more on developing local 1-point players,” Baker said.
There will also be a reduction to the base allocation of interstate players allowed at each club from a maximum of seven (7) to six (6) players.
As part of equalisation measures, the ability will remain for the WAFC to adjust a club’s Player Recruitment Points allocation above 100 points or six (6) interstate players on an as needs basis to improve competitiveness.
The WAFC is also committed to implementing further equalisation measures ahead of the 2021 season. Some of the measures being considered include:
Importantly, these measures will require more work, research and consultation prior to being implemented to ensure they can support the effective delivery of an equalised competition.
SUMMARY OF AMENDMENTS TO WAFL RULES & REGULATIONS FOR 2020