A PLAYER points cap in the Ovens and Murray is unlikely to drop below 38 from next season.
Despite clubs fielding an average team worth 29.9 points across the first 11 rounds of the year, regional manager John O’Donohue said it was doubtful there would be wholesale changes when AFL North East Border reviewed the cap of 42 at the end of this season.
With a salary cap to be brought in from 2017, O’Donohue said the points system needed to be given more time before it was drastically cut.
He said other leagues in Victoria had been bogged down with appeals after setting low or variable player point limits.
“We never thought it would be the saviour in year one, it was a couple of year program and we’re comfortable with where it’s at but everything is always under review and under consideration,” he said.
“We were always of the intention to give it some time to be administered and managed at club level with the expectation we will tighten it up over time.
“We’re at least on track to bring it down four points, whether we go lower than that will be determined.
“There’s probably room in our cap to bring it down further but we’ve also got to have it comparable to what we have in the Tallangatta league and the Ovens and King as well.
“We have to look at it from a whole regional perspective.
“It’s not necessarily just an equalisation policy, it’s about sustainability.
“If the concept was brought in a few years ago some clubs would be lot higher and others would be a lot lower than what they are now, depending on their cycle of recruiting and retention and all those sorts of things.”
To highlight O’Donohue’s point, if the current player cap was implemented in 2009, Albury’s grand final-winning team would have been worth up to 55 points – 13 above this year’s limit.
Former AFL players Chris Hyde and Ben Fixter would have attracted six points each while Andy Carey, Shaun Daly, Michael Thompson, Joel Mackie and Trent Castles could have each cost five points as former players of rival Ovens and Murray clubs.
The Tigers have been rewarded for their ability to hang on to the likes of Mackie, Thompson and Daly over a long period of time, with their average team worth just over 33 points across the first half of this season.
The player points system and soon-to-be-announced salary cap come as AFL North East Border prepares to launch a review of football in the area.
“We’ve identified there’s a few issues across the region,” O’Donohue said.
“The Upper Murray’s got an issue with their junior competition. Two years after we’ve brought Mansfield and Benalla into the Wangaratta (junior) competition, there’s some imbalances that are happening there which flows through to the Ovens and King under-18s.
“We’ve got issues over at Corowa as well, so there’s lots of things we want to look at but we have to tie them all together because every time you do something, it has a consequence somewhere else.”