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BDAFL Outlines Plans for 2018 Season
The Black Diamond AFL outlined their plans for the 2018 season at their Annual Planning Day which was held at Belmont 16 Footers Sailing Club last Sunday.
The meeting was attended by 38 members, with representatives from all clubs including Port Stephens and Wallsend who have both expressed interest in fielding teams in the 2018 Women's competition.
The BDAFL confirmed that there will be an expanded Black Diamond Cup competition, with 11 teams expected to participate. The Reserve Grade competition is expected to contain Muswellbrook and The Entrance Bateau Bay as well as the 11 Reserve Grade teams, whilst the BDAFL will also look at conducting a third grade competition should interest warrant.
The BDAFL also raised the issue of forming a Masters competition, which was warmly received by the clubs, with the BDAFL to liaise with the Hunter AFL Masters on the best way to structure this.
The meeting expressed interest in forming two Divisions of their women's competition, whilst the BDAFL said they would consider a Women's Reserve Grade competition, should six clubs be able to demonstrate they have the capacity to field two teams.
The BDAFL also announced that they have abolished the controversial Equalisation Policy that was in place in 2017, at the same time outlined their planned Equalisation Strategy for 2018 and beyond which was formulated by a 12 person Working Group of former and current BDAFL players, coaches and administrators.
BDAFL President, Mr Wal Bembic said that a seeded fixture and the new Equalisation Strategy will assist with the transition of the new clubs into the Black Diamond Cup competition.
“Those five new teams will play each other twice and they’ll play the existing six teams once. The existing six teams will play each other twice and they’ll play the new five teams once.
“So it’s a bit of a soft landing, but clubs get the opportunity to play the best and also play the most games against the sides at their own level.”
"The potential introduction of a player points system, including a recruitment cap, may also ease that transition".
“The idea being to enable new clubs who come to the Black Diamond to recruit as many players as they can and the top teams every year would be limited in their recruitment,” Bembic said.
The BDAFL also announced that the season would commence on Saturday, 7 April 2018 with the Grand Final on 1 September 2018. In a change from past years the Women's Grand Final will be played on the same day as the men, having previously being played as a twilight fixture the week before, whilst during the year, women's matches wil be played immediately prior to the men's senior matches.
Clubs have until next Friday, 17 November 2017 to submit their team nominations and also provide feedback of the 2018 competition structure including the Equalisation Strategy.