Across Australia, we have some wonderful state football leagues.
The SANFL, WAFL, TSL, NTFL, even the oddly-named VFL with its six non-Victorian teams – they all have their place and they deserve respect.
Unfortunately, with the current situation in the AFL surrounding its list management, this can’t happen.
For the fifth time in four years, the South Adelaide Football Club looks likely to lose its ruckman via the pre-season supplement period or the mid-season draft.
Twice it was Keegan Brooksby, and twice in one year the Panthers lost a ruckman to the Sydney Swans.
The amount of work which goes into planning for a home and away season is significant, and when a key point of that side is ripped out from an AFL side, it’s a whole pre-season’s work out the door.
The Panthers are a historic club in the SANFL, but haven’t won a premiership since the mid-1960s.
With the side at their disposal containing such ex-AFL players as Bryce Gibbs and Matthew Broadbent, their time was coming.
Paul Hunter was a terrific ruckman last season for South, and was named in the Team of the Year.
Yet, he’s now training with St Kilda as a spot on its list has opened up.
To put things into perspective, it’s great for Hunter as a player to try and get back into the AFL, but at St Kilda’s disposal are Rowan Marshall, Patrick Ryder, Dougal Howard and Shaun McKernan who can ruck.
The Saints also have also have basketball rookie, 211cm giant Sam Alabakis on their list.
It seems an excessive amount of tall timber for the Saints at the expense of South Adelaide.
The SANFL is a proud competition, as are the others mentioned above.
If AFL clubs cannot manage their lists correctly after two free agency periods, a trade period and three drafts, then that’s a reflection on them.
While the pre-season supplemental period is a headache, nothing compares to the agony state clubs suffer in the mid-season draft.
An entire premiership campaign can be derailed by one or two players being plucked in the middle of the season.
It’s absolutely not acceptable and we need to do better by the competitions which have helped grow the game to the heights that it is today, not cannibalise it into oblivion.