The West

Clubs put bye in play
Haydn Raitt. Pic: WA News

A plan for West Coast and Fremantle reserves teams to play WAFL clubs on their byes is a step closer to reality for next year with a working party to draw up a format.

WAFL presidents voted unanimously at a meeting last Thursday for a proposal to be prepared. Swan Districts were the only club not represented at the meeting.

The working party will include Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett and Fremantle counterpart Steve Rosich. It will be driven by the WA Football Commission.

A model where WAFL clubs play either two or four bye games against the Eagles and Dockers will be discussed.

The format would be trialled for one year or up to five years and would run outside of the existing nine-team WAFL premiership competition.

Both of WA's AFL clubs see a reserves team as a way of having full control over their players in a bid to fast-track the development of draftees.

WAFL council of presidents chairman Haydn Raitt said the clubs were holding firm on their demands to be paid a $1.35 million annual licence fee - $150,000 for each of the nine WAFL clubs - to allow the competition to go ahead.

However, Raitt said it would be easier to put a dollar value on the reserves model if the structure was finalised.

"The Eagles and Dockers may want to play each other four or five times," Raitt said.

"There's just so many variances to it and until they all sit down in a working party and get it together, we don't really know what's happening.

"We're putting a price on something that may never happen."

Raitt said the hope was to have a model for the bye competition finalised by the end of May.

He said the latest step meant there was a distinct possibility games would be played in 2013.

"It's what the AFL wants," Raitt said. "I believe it's what most people really want.

"The WAFL clubs understand the need of the AFL clubs. They're not going to kick up about something that we see as a benefit to football.

"I'm sure the WAFL clubs would go with it provided they're not going to get screwed."

An Eagles spokesman said the club would comment when a concrete format was in place.

The West Australian

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