AFL personality Jason Akermanis will play just one game for Tuggeranong instead of the planned three. Photo: Gary Schafer
Jason Akermanis will only play one game for the Tuggeranong Hawks this year and not three like the club had hoped due to player transfer regulations.
''Aker'' will line up for the struggling club against Greater Western Sydney reserves at Greenway Oval on Saturday. The Hawks wanted to have the controversial former Brisbane Lion for another two games - against Morningside and Sydney Hills or Queanbeyan - but a June 30 transfer deadline meant Tuggeranong could either have him for four games or one.
Akermanis already has three bookings after that date and NEAFL player transfer rules meant the Hawks needed to either match those three bookings or miss out.
Other leagues around Australia have a permit system that allows players to transfer into a league for just one game.
That doesn't exist in the NEAFL and the league has no plans of introducing one, despite calls from Tuggeranong to do so.
So Akermanis would have to be a registered Tuggeranong player from the deadline onwards in order to play.
''We operate under the national transfer guidelines and that [permit system is] not in place after June 30,'' NEAFL eastern conference general manager Jack Masters said yesterday.
''We review the rules every year but I'd be surprised if that was something we'd introduce.
''The common theme amongst these appearances [of players like Akermanis] is your country footy leagues and the like, not state leagues. I think it'd be fair to say it's something that would be highly unlikely that we'd go down that path.''
But Hawks football manager David Graham said he asked the league to introduce one at the start of the season.
Tuggeranong is the only Canberra club in the NEAFL eastern conference without pokies and it sees Akermanis as a good way to raise vital revenue.
The Hawks struggle to recruit players when competing against the richer clubs for signatures.
Two more games with Akermanis could help fix that.
''While we understand why the rules are there, it is going to hinder our ability to generate some additional revenue through Jason, which is disappointing for our club,'' Graham said.
''We understand why the rules are there but we believe perhaps the AFL might like to consider adopting what happens outside the NEAFL in these other state leagues and community football competitions throughout Australia because from the perspective of clubs who are struggling financially these are great initiatives.
''Ex-AFL players of the calibre of Jason and Barry Hall … and Brendan Fevola, they bring people through the gate and those people bring their money, and that's how clubs are able to survive.
''I mean, we're not relying on pokies revenue.''
Akermanis will also speak at a sportsman's dinner at the Tuggeranong Southern Cross Club after the game.
Akermania: Tuggeranong v GWS Giants reserves at Greenway Oval, 2pm