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In Need Of A Phoenix…Or Two
Authored by: Wesley Hull on Monday, December 10 2018 @ 10:03 pm ACDT

What I am offering, Harley, is a couple of thoughts directly responding to an AFL Europe Facebook post imploring people in the areas around the Leeds Minotaurs, Sheffield Thunder, Birmingham Bears, Bournemouth Demons and Surrey Stags to try and get back and resurrect those clubs.

It would be great to think that the gradual regrowth of those clubs would happen by following all set conventions, rules and policies, but I doubt that's enough. By drawing on my interview with Kevin Sheedy from a couple of years ago I have lifted a couple of thoughts that might help to view the landscape differently.

I agree that Tyne Tees Tigers relocating is a good thing for that club. But I would argue that their departure on the back of losing those other AFLCNE clubs in recent years cannot be a healthy thing for the league or the game.

I think the point you make that the AFL is responsible and should be doing more is frustratingly true for all clubs and leagues outside of Australia. But at what point do we feel that the AFL will realise their responsibility and rectify things? can clubs and leagues wait for that? Or can clubs and leagues make changes to suit their own needs? Why not?

Sheedy doesn't care about 18 a side, 16 a side, 9 a side, 7 a side, 4 a side. All he cares about is two sides to generate a competition and he said that outright in my original interview.

If I followed every edict of AFL Cairns up here and took simply what they offered, we would have lost most of our kids to rugby league. We would not have the teams or pipelines now available if we waited for local authorities. I operated totally outside of the AFL by running matches, leagues and carnivals to make sure the kids played. I ran indoor summer handpassing comps in a northern summer to keep the flag flying when AFL Cairns was more worried about local elite pathways.

Maybe they are right because Jack Bowes, Jacob Heron and Caleb Graham are now at the Gold Coast Suns. Three kids after years of pathways. Yet where I am we have an entire club and district embracing a game through our own passion and nominal support from the league.

So, by all means, follow the rules and wait for the cavalry to arrive. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. But as an alternative, why can't clubs, leagues explore outside the box as Sheedy himself has suggested they do.

All I have done is given voice to the idea. Others will decide the value of what has been said.

In Need Of A Phoenix…Or Two
Authored by: Harley Vague on Tuesday, December 11 2018 @ 12:53 pm ACDT

You miss my point completely. It is not a question of AFL responsibility but "IMO more attention has to be paid to those actually at the coalface.". That is, the AFL need to pay more attention to those who do in fact "think outside the square".

I can criticise certain people and groups for 'waiting for the cavalry', waiting for the AFL, a celebrity or an elite football player to appear. Some even reject help if it doesn't come with a letter of introduction. Where there has been success It has been agonisingly slow for those people who have produced outstanding results to be offered assistance.

I can criticise certain the AFL, celebrities and elite football players as being uncontactable. Unfortunately I cannot offer assistance to people coming to me for this reason. It is really embarrassing that the AFL is not interested in individuals (outside of AFL standard).

I can criticise people for not thinking within the square and not doing the basics low-cost basic like establishing a database of leagues, clubs, players, umpires and associations. Who's forming committees or running surveys ? It's basic stuff. Why can't AFL clubs put on simple demonstration games or at least engage the local clubs when then they train overseas. here's a thought. If two AFL clubs trained at that the same destination they could have an AFL game at also zero extra cost.

As for AFLNE it is obvious that someone should analyse why there was rapid expansion and why the situation changed. In my experience it is often the aussies that are both the creator and destructor of football clubs.

I'm not sure how Sheedy's rhetoric could help AFLNE but maybe if the AFL viewing was more accessible to those outside of Australia that would help to promote interest.

More than a decade ago I suggested that the key was greater co-operation, with databases, player pathways and volunteer pathways. For any thinking to be effective it has to be listened to.