AFL South East has succeeded in executing stage one of its grand plan for divisional football throughout the region, restructuring the Nepean and Peninsula competitions last Friday.
As was predicted months ago, all 22 clubs were informed last Friday that Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League divisions will be restructured in 2018.
Chelsea, Karingal and Langwarrin drop from Peninsula to Division Two and Frankston Bombers, Sorrento and Rosebud elevate from Nepean to Division One.
In 2019, AFL South East plans to restructure again, introducing a third division, Premier, and bringing in South East Football Netball League clubs, which includes Cranbourne, Berwick, Beaconsfield and others.
It is believed that all but five clubs (Edithvale-Aspendale, Langwarrin, Pines, Mornington, Tyabb) do not support a further restructure and will continue its fight against the move.
In determining which clubs should be selected to compete in Division 1, AFL South East Regional General Manager John Anderson said the following considerations were made:
- Recent playing performances
- Playing depth
- Junior pathway including viability of U19’s and junior club pathways
- Club facilities, and
- The results of a recent survey conducted by MPNFL Clubs
Regardless of the considerations, both Rosebud and Sorrento believe they will struggle given the Buds have had no Under 17s for the past two seasons and Sorrento has had no Under 16s or 17s.
However, there is little question that there is overwhelming support for divisional football between MPNFL clubs.
The current salary cap of $150,000 will be applied to both divisions next season with the intention of re-evaluating and working towards a reduction in 2019. The total team points will be reset at 39 points with further communication to clubs in coming weeks.
Mr Anderson said that this announcement heralds an exciting new era for football in the region. “While I look forward to seeing the top 10 clubs competing against each other, I am even more keen to see clubs which have struggled in recent years get the opportunity to be more competitive and potentially participate in finals in 2018,” Mr Anderson said.