GREATER Western Sydney is privately fuming at the lack of organisation from the AFL in regards to the proposed northern conference state league that it is expected to take part in next season before entering the AFL.
A club spokesperson this week said the club could not confirm which league it would be entering next season because there had been “no official word” from the AFL – but is confident it will determine its playing destination by the end of this month.
AFL game and development manager David Matthews could not be contacted yesterday but a decision on the proposed northern conference – expected to include the Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast reserve teams – was still believed to be up in the air.
Matthews was confident last month that the northern conference model would still go ahead but was seeking advice on which regional teams to include.
The VFL has kept its door ajar and has delayed its fixturing for next season in case plans for the northern conference league fall through.
The Gold Coast played in the VFL this season as a dress rehearsal for its AFL debut next season, but both new teams have signalled that the wished to play in the proposed northern conference league.
Meanwhile, GWS will begin marketing former NRL star Israel Folau when he begins pre-season training from November 15 after attempting to maintain a low key approach to the former NRL star’s entry into the game – until he officially joins the club.
Folau is still contracted to the Brisbane Broncos until the end of October but the club forecasts plans to showcase his talent as soon as the NAB Cup in which GWS will take part possibly against Gold Coast.
“I will be working with Sheeds (coach Kevin Sheedy) and others to develop his football his skills and it will be up to others to choose how they market him in other areas,” GWS assistant coach Alan McConnell said
McConnell believed the club was behind the Gold Coast in comparision to where the Suns were this time last year because boys finish school in Queensland at age 17 which allowed them to be full time competitors last year.
He described GWS as a “part time environment” and said the introduction of mature age rookies from the rookie draft this year was “critical”.
GWS is eyeing off several state league footballers and will keep a close eye on the delistings at AFL clubs.
By Brent Diamond