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Host clubs closer for Eagles, Dockers
Host clubs closer for Eagles, Dockers

West Coast and Fremantle could have formal alignments in place with East Perth and Peel for the 2014 WAFL season, with the WA Football Commission expected to pitch partnership proposals to the two WAFL clubs within the next week.

WAFC chairman Frank Cooper refused to name the clubs involved yesterday, but speculation remains that the WAFC regards an Eagles link with East Perth and a Fremantle alignment with Peel as its most achievable options in forming host-club arrangements.

Cooper was hopeful that the fresh proposal drafted by the WAFC would address concerns and issues expressed by WAFL clubs at the recent football summit held to thrash out the AFL reserves teams issue.

East Perth president Bronte Howson was overseas and could not be contacted yesterday.

Peel Thunder's John Ditchburn said he was well aware of the speculation about his club and the Royals but said Peel could not adopt any position on an alignment until they saw a firm proposal.

"We are waiting for the commission to put a proposal to us," Ditchburn said. "We have heard the rumours like everyone else has but all we can do is wait to see what line the commission takes on this."

A defiant Ditchburn said Peel remained confident they could succeed as a stand-alone club.

He believed the Thunder were better placed than several other WAFL clubs to survive and succeed in the longer term on its own.

"People say we would be the least affected by an alignment because of our short history but we would say that we have done all of the hard yards and we think we are a strong chance to make it our way," Ditchburn said.

Cooper was hopeful that a clearer picture on future alignments would emerge in the next two weeks.

He ruled out any permanent changes in 2013, declaring a short time frame would mean that only "transitional" arrangements to satisfy the AFL clubs' desire for reserves team structures would be possible next season.

"We are working on the proposal. It is getting towards its later stages," he said. "But it is just too hard to pre-empt things at this stage.

"But we do think it is going to meet the needs of both the WAFL and AFL clubs, as they expressed them to us when we held the football summit.

"We would hope that we would get a proposal that everyone is happy to sign off on within the next two weeks."

Cooper also confirmed the WAFC has had talks with both Channel 9 and Channel 7 about televising WAFL games post-2013, should the ABC drop its coverage.

The ABC holds the option of covering games next season but is yet to confirm that it will and appears unlikely to continue in 2014.

"We are looking at what we can do in regards to maintaining telecasts of the WAFL," Cooper said.

"It is uncertain as to what will happen post-2013."

"We are waiting for the commission to put a proposal to us. We have heard the rumours ..."" Peel president * John Ditchburn *