State league players’ futures in the air

By Andrew Johnston

THE future for local state league players has been thrown into more confusion.

The AFL has directed its clubs that no players on AFL lists will be able to take part in second-tier competitions this season.

There have been discussions about the five standalone VFL sides — Williamstown, Coburg, Frankston, Port Melbourne and Werribee — as well as AFL-affiliated teams Box Hill, Casey and Sandringham, continuing the season.

Currently Echuca's Angus Byrne and Moama's Aidyn Johnson are members of Geelong and Richmond's VFL sides respectively, and the withdrawal of their clubs from the VFL for the season could prevent them from playing state league football.

It also further complicates matters for Echuca's Noah Wheeler, who remains without a club.

Wheeler's state league club, Northern Blues, formerly Preston, was wound up in March when Carlton ended its affiliation with the club.

There were initial discussions of Carlton entering a reserves side using Northern Blues players; however, the change to the structure means Wheeler is now completely without a club.

Former Echuca player Darby Henderson remains on the list of Williamstown.