Queanbeyan Tigers coach Kade Klemke. Photo: Rohan Thomson
FOR THE ''legitimacy of the competition'' the NEAFL needs to hurry up and finalise the structure for next season and guarantee the Canberra clubs ''two or three years'' in the ever-transforming league, according to two Canberra coaches.
There's been massive upheavals in the NEAFL this year, with Tuggeranong kicked out of the eastern conference and four Queensland clubs also booted.
It's believed 2014 will see the northern and eastern conferences merged to one ladder of 14 teams. But from a fixturing perspective they'll still be split - old northern conference teams will mostly play each other and the same for the eastern conference.
The NEAFL met with the clubs last week, but a final decision on the structure was not made.
''That sort of stuff, while it's nice to know, it doesn't really affect how you go about your pre-season and all that stuff, but just for the legitimacy of the competition it would be nice to know,'' Eastlake coach Anthony Bourke said.
He confirmed Eastlake had lost Matty O'Dwyer and Ryan Brabazon to Sydney Uni, while defender Nick Perry had also returned to live in Sydney.
Sam Mardling and Rick Stoyanoff have returned to South Australia, and the Demons could also lose Dean Roulstone, Daniel Ryall and Ben Maiden to Riverina clubs.
As part of their partnership with Tuggeranong, the Demons have picked up Ash Pocock, Chris Robinson and Ben Cleaver, while they've recruited Bacchus Marsh onballer-small forward Matt Denham from the Ballarat league.
Queanbeyan co-coach Kade Klemke said knowing how long you were guaranteed to be in the league helped with recruiting.
''We want to make sure for all of the clubs in Canberra that there's a guarantee we'll be here for two or three years because that's the hardest thing with the comp … no one knows how long everyone's in the comp for,'' Klemke said.
''Give us a bit of confidence and then we can plan for it, [it helps with] recruiting and everything.
''If we know we're not in the comp after a year, then we can prepare for it … to be honest no one knows what the NEAFL are doing.''
He said rumours linking Tigers full-forward James Kavanagh with a return to Melbourne were premature and he's signed on for 2014 with Queanbeyan. Kavanagh has had hip surgery and Klemke expects him back in February.
Belconnen small forward and 2012 Mulrooney medallist Shane Harris has been linked to Eastlake.