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Curley bullish on WAFL reserves

South Fremantle coach Todd Curley believes the WAFL reserves competition still serves a purpose, as doubts begin to surface about the viability of the format beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic.

With the WA Football Commission facing financial strain caused by the postponed season, it is thought that the reserves competition could fall on it’s sword beyond 2020, leaving the WAFL and it’s clubs without a direct feeder competition.

Speaking to Sports Drive on Thursday, Curley said he saw merit in keeping the current reserves model.

“It’s a model that’s worked for a long time and has been really successful. I think it’s important to have a link between the reserves and league side with the Colts now separate,” he said.

“If you look at our last few years we had a really settled team for 2-3 seasons, there were some guys who played quite a lot of reserves footy who had to wait for their opportunity, probably half a dozen or maybe more have jumped up in the last 12-18 months because they had done that groundwork in the reserves it certainly helped them play some really good senior footy and helped us bounce back when people thought we would fall away.”

Curley, a premiership player with West Perth and former Collingwood and Western Bulldogs player at AFL level, said his club would accept whatever decision was made on the competition by the WAFL.

“You can only look at what’s in front of you, if situations change and funding changes, people a lot higher than me will make those decisions and we’ll play what’s in front of us,” he said.

“Traditionally it’s worked well, if it gets to the situation where the game can’t sustain it then they will have to look at alternatives.”

“I’ll just deal with what’s presented to play, hopefully there are reserves involved because it’s great having such a big group, if not we’ll adapt, and the game will adapt like it has over the last 130 years.”

When asked if the WAFL league competition could sustain ten teams in the current and future financial climate, Curley was pessimistic.

“There’s been a lot of history with a lot of clubs in the competition, you would assume that we all want those clubs to continue,” he said.

“The challenge is that it’s a new landscape now, there’s a lot of supporters that have been involved in the competition for a long time that aren’t getting any younger.”

“We’ve got a challenge for our competition, and for our footy club the challenge is to tap in to revenue streams that we haven’t always traditionally lent on and find new ways to be relevant.”

The Bulldogs are in their 120th season in 2020, and were set to bring night football back to Fremantle tomorrow night in their scheduled season opener against West Perth.

The season has been postponed until at least May 31, a nine-game home and away season or no football in 2020 the likely options for the state league competition.

IMAGE: The West Australian.


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