The Bendigo Football League is looking to create a more even competition this season with the implementation of the Player Points System.

The system was introduced as part of the statewide Club Sustainability Program to assist in the equalisation of competitions and to hinder the inflationary nature of player payments. It aims to discourage the movement of players between community clubs and promote player loyalty and junior development.

The program involves scoring a player from one to six points based on their level of achievements in football. Things taken in to consideration are if the player has reached AFL or VFL level and how long the player has been at the club. A total of 50 points each week will be allocated to teams across Victoria.

In response to a survey made available to all senior clubs in Victoria in 2014, AFL Victoria’s Club Sustainability Manager Darryl Collings said, “83 per cent of clubs responses confirmed that we needed a system of regulation to manage escalating player payments.”

“Junior development and player retention programs are able to be promoted and imbedded at club level. The points system ensures fairness for all teams across different leagues,” Mr Collings said.

Darryl Wilson, senior coach of local Bendigo club Strathfieldsaye Storm said the introduction of the program has been a restrictive factor to his senior football side.

“It takes time to build a strong football club and the points system has, in a way, damaged all the effort we’ve put in over the last couple of seasons,” Mr Wilson said.

He said he’s had to “cut some of Storm’s best players” due to the high amount of points allocated to the individuals and that his team has been “penalized for being successful”. Strathfieldsaye storm have won the last two premierships in the BFNL.

The program is permanent for future seasons with the statewide salary cap being introduced in 2017 to compliment the player points system.

By Bonnie Barkmeyer.