VFL alignments, are they effective?
Since the VFL was revamped back in 2000, each of the Victorian AFL clubs have had an alignment with an existing club and in the current format, only Geelong field a team that isn't aligned to one of the original clubs.
Whilst there are bound to be issues when it comes to the running of football clubs, there are some which are specific to the VFL and as a result, various club presidents including Port Melbourne's Peter Saultry have expressed concerns publicly.
Saultry, who has always been an outspoken club president, was unimpressed when Kangaroos coach Dean Laidley attempted to dictate to Port Melbourne coach Saade Ghazi where the AFL listed players would play. As a result of this, many of the VFL listed players who would have otherwise played senior football were play reserves football.
This issue and others related to the alignment with the Kangaroos saw the Borough terminate the alignment and opt to compete as a stand alone club for season 2006.
If the individual VFL clubs want the partnership with AFL clubs to be strong both on and off the field, the issues such as those that occured at Port Melbourne need to be resolved long before they escalate into something serious that attracts widespread criticisim and unwanted media attention.
Phil Cleary said in his Inside Football column this week that he wouldn't have welcomed an AFL coach telling how to coach when he was coach of Coburg and I'm sure Ghazi would have felt the same way when Laidley tried to impart dictate the terms of selection to him.
It's all well and good to suggest or discuss where you would like your players to play in the VFL lineup, but it's simply being too intrusive if you stand over the coaching staff and selection panel telling them where the players should be played as well insisting that they must play senior football regardless of form.
Fortunately, this issue isn't the case at the Werribee and Sandringham football clubs who are both acknowladged with having the strongest alignments in the competition with the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne respectively.