THE AFL has outlined an important update to clubs about the second-tier and junior competitions, with the League aiming to stage a reduced VFL season.
The League's head of talent Tristan Salter wrote to clubs on Tuesday afternoon detailing key information about its hopes for a restart to the lower levels later this year.
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In it, Salter said the AFL was working through the option of a reduced VFL season with the assistance of the eight clubs – the five standalone VFL clubs and three AFL-aligned clubs – to determine a potential season structure.
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The three aligned VFL clubs – Box Hill Hawks (Hawthorn), Casey Demons (Melbourne) and Sandringham Zebras (St Kilda) – will not have access to AFL-listed players due to COVID-19 restrictions but are identifying additional players to support their lists.
Players who had signed with AFL-affiliated VFL clubs but are outside the AFL system could move to other clubs to ensure the aligned clubs have enough players.
The update to AFL clubs also confirmed the AFL's aim of starting Victoria's under-18 NAB League - for both boys and girls - in a reduced format later this year.
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AFL.com.au reported last month that it was targeting an August return for a season potentially of six weeks to ensure draft hopefuls get a chance to impress.
"We are working closely with all governments and health authorities to determine a return for the state league and talent pathways competitions," Salter said.
"Over the past few months we have been working through and understanding the details surrounding each competition in consultation with clubs and officials.
"We are committed to getting football back at these levels and will continue to help and support all players, clubs, officials, supporters and leagues.
"We are determined to provide all eligible AFL draft prospects the opportunity to showcase their skills ahead of a NAB AFL Draft at the end of this year."
The AFL has prioritised getting each state-based under-18 competition up and running, but is also hopeful of holding a "representative program" for October this year in lieu of the normal mid-year under-18 national championships.
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Due to budget restraints and travel restrictions, the under-16s carnival will not proceed in 2020.
The League is also keen to stage a wound-back NAB AFL Draft Combine in October with a focus on club interviews and medical screenings.
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More information on the VFLW competition is expected in coming weeks.