AFL Canberra has begun surveying ACT teams as it aims to settle on a restructured first grade competition for next season.
Following the decisions of the Belconnen Magpies and Queanbeyan Tigers to withdraw from next year's NEAFL competition, AFL Canberra has issued surveys to clubs as the first step to finalising a new ACT first grade structure for 2015.
The survey asks clubs to nominate their ideal number of teams, from six to 12, whether those clubs should represent a geographical area and whether salary or points caps should be implemented.
AFL Canberra regional manager Steve Maher said the league planned to meet with clubs and stakeholders for preliminary talks in the next fortnight, but said it was premature to speculate on the structure of next year’s competition.
“Ideally we’d like a vibrant competition and we’re considering absolutely everything at the moment but I’m not prepared to comment on individual clubs as there has been enough speculation already,” Maher said.
“We’d like to meet with clubs hopefully within the next two weeks and it will be a process that may take a while because we want to have a look at different competition models.
“We want to give the clubs an option and to have their say on what the competition looks like and I don’t see us being able to announce or comment on our competition or structure for four to six weeks.”
While the focus has been on Canberra sides struggling in the NEAFL, Ainslie can cement a finals spot if they beat Queanbeyan on Sunday.
Ainslie coach Chris Rourke was hopeful of retaining the services of GWS Academy member Liam Griffiths for the finals. Griffiths, who made his NEAFL debut for Ainslie last week, will this week play for the Giants reserves side in Sydney.
“They [GWS] want to have a look at him [Griffiths] so he goes up there with our blessing,” Rourke said.
“We expect him to play in finals for us, we have first tabs on him so it would be great if he can come back and play a few finals for us.”
Ainslie captain Rob Touhey will miss this week’s game with Nick Heyne making his return from a shoulder injury, while Will Griggs returns for Queanbeyan.
Eastlake will try to combat their rising injury toll when the side travels to Queensland to take on premiership contender Aspley in Xavier McMahon’s 50th game for the club. Belconnen looks set to debut rising stars Sam O’Sullivan and Adam Lamb in their game against Southport.
Saturday: Belconnen Magpies v Southport Sharks, 10:45am at Kippax; Eastlake v Aspley, 12pm at Graham Road
Sunday: Queanbeyan v Ainslie, 2pm at Dairy Farmers Park.