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Eagles, Dockers woo WAFL clubs with $1m carrot
SMG Eagles, Dockers woo WAFL clubs with $1m carrot

UPDATED: West Coast and Fremantle have dangled before WAFL clubs a golden carrot worth more than $1 million a year in exchange for the right to field dedicated teams in the competition from as early as next year.

By allowing the proposal, which would change the face of the State's traditional elite competition, WA's two AFL clubs will argue that WAFL clubs would share in a guaranteed extra payment of nearly $600,000 and nearly double that figure through game-day takings.

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Ross Lewis' blog - Why proposal is too risky.

That means each WAFL club stands to gain $125,000 from the package, which was detailed to clubs this morning.

The sum would come through an annual licence fee from the AFL clubs, increased sponsorship and membership because of the increased profile of the competition, and compensatory payments to cover the loss of their AFL-listed players.

The other variable takings would come from the extra home games in an 11-team competition where each side would play their 10 rivals twice, hosting WAFL western derbies between the Eagles and Dockers on a rotational basis at the home grounds of current clubs, and two extra finals by boosting the current top four to a top five.

Figures would rise marginally each year to an estimated total of nearly $3.5 million over the next three seasons.

West Coast and Fremantle have also said they would broker a naming rights sponsorship deal for the WAFL worth $200,000 a season.

The Eagles and Dockers have already paid about $150 million into WA football coffers in Patersons Stadium rent and royalties since their respective inceptions in 1987 and 1995.

They claim this new proposal would provide the WAFL with lasting financial stability.

And in the submission the Eagles and Dockers have played on the financial concerns of the local league.

"There are some limiting factors affecting the future of the WAFL competition that cannot be ignored at this time ... three WAFL clubs are operating on bank overdrafts," the submission said

"Three WAFL clubs reported a net operating loss of greater than $85,000 after provisions and abnormals in 2010."

The commission and clubs will thoroughly assess the proposal over the next six weeks before it is taken to a vote.

Thewest.com.au revealed in March that West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett and his Fremantle counterpart Steve Rosich, both former WAFL players, had joined forces to compile the bid at the request of the WAFC.

The proposal includes a guarantee to the WAFL clubs that their players returning to the State league after their AFL careers have finished will not be targeted as potential recruits.

The Eagles and Dockers plan to hone in on fringe players not on the primary 40-man lists of WAFL clubs and will use untried amateur and country talent they believe has not been identified.

They will hand WAFL clubs the right to take back these players from their dedicated zones if the AFL talent scouts are shown to be right.

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the reserves team concept was crucial to his club's AFL development.

"The successful teams in the recent past are certainly moving in that direction and we need keep pace with them," Nisbett said.

"We firmly believe that our players will develop more quickly and more broadly under one system. It is difficult for young players to be schooled on one game plan and to train with that plan in mind from the start of pre-season and to then adjust to another club’s strategies on a match day.

"We believe this proposal can be adopted with a successful outcome for all parties. We do understand the concerns of the WAFL clubs and their loyal supporters, but are absolutely convinced this proposal can be implemented to the benefit of everyone.

"The integrity of the WAFL will be protected, the financial upside for all WAFL clubs is significant, the growth of the game is enhanced and the players at the AFL clubs are developed within one system, under the direction of that club’s development coaches and that can only fast track their progress.

"In addition to that we believe the advent of AFL clubs in the WAFL will reinvigorate the competition and have a positive impact on the performance of the AFL clubs. That, in turn, will have financial spin-offs for the WAFL clubs."

Collingwood and Geelong, winners of three of the past four AFL premierships, have their own dedicated VFL teams and several other clubs are soon tipped to follow.

Hawthorn, the 2008 premiers, are aligned with VFL team Box Hill.

Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney all have their own teams in the newly-formed North East Australian Football League.

West Coast and Fremantle claim failure to allow them to have the same, and streamline development of their players, will see them lose pace with their AFL rivals.

Details of the proposal are expected to be released publicly this morning after the meeting between the AFL and WAFL clubs.