Insurance at heart of pathways decision

March 08, 2018

Martin Gleeson is the regional general manager at AFL Goulburn Murray.

AFL Goulburn Murray region general manager Martin Gleeson said insurance was the main reason non-affiliated players could not participate in talent pathway programs.

AFL GM staff phoned the families of the 10 Picola District Football Netball League players who form part of its academy, while the two Murray Bushrangers were also contacted.

Gleeson said they were not pleasant phone calls his staff had to make.

‘‘They (families) were gutted, some of them were really angry and I don’t blame them,’’ he said.

‘‘They have to find somewhere else to play, but we’re concerned with the player welfare on the edge of the season, parents were disappointed and a couple of them were quite angry that it’s been taken away from them against their choice.’’

The main issue surrounding the league’s split from the affiliation agreement has been the insurance of players.

While league operations manager Shane Railton has secured a broker for the season, Gleeson said players needed to be covered by a standard set by the AFL.

Players will still be under AFL cover for the next two weeks, but after that point footballers will have to choose to forfeit their place in the program or move to an affiliated league.

‘‘It’s an AFL Vic program and so they need to be under an AFL Vic level of insurance,’’ he said.

‘‘Part of the reason we kept the system switched on for clubs is so they can go to training and be covered under insurance.

‘‘It’s the system that they’re a part of as opposed to it being our (AFL GM) decision, we couldn’t run the risk of players training without insurance.’’

League could resurrect its own institute for young guns

Picola District Football Netball League operations manager Shane Railton will consider bringing in the competition’s own talented player program as an alternative for those aspiring to go further with their football.

The league previously ran the Picola Institute of Football which could again become a reality after ceasing in 2015.

Two Murray Bushrangers and 10 AFL Goulburn Murray Academy members may be forced to change leagues in order to continue with their programs.

While Railton said he was exploring measures to see if players could hold their place in the squads, the league could develop its own initiative.

‘‘We haven’t ruled out starting back up our own program,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve got a great relationship with the Bushies, we get along well with them and we used to do their fitness testing.’’

AFL Victoria Country talent pathways manager Lee Fraser reiterated there was a strong rapport with the league that has had players go through its program.

But now players may need to sever ties with the club they have played with as a junior in order to continue on at an elite level.

Current AFL players Tom Clurey (Katamatite), Sam Wright (Katamatite), Daniel Howe (Rennie), Todd Marshall (Deniliquin) and Sam Lloyd (Deniliquin) all plied their trade in the PDFNL.

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