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WAFC announces changes to WAFL Finals eligibilityThursday, December 7, 2017 - 3:12 PM

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The West Australian Football Commission (WAFC) has announced changes to the finals eligibility of players for the West Australian Football League (WAFL) competition in an effort to ensure that it remains the premier State League competition in the country.

The changes are the result of an in-depth analysis of four years of data (2014-2017) under the AFL partner club model and extensive consultation with all nine WAFL clubs, the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Football Club.

Four key changes will be made for the 2018 season including:-

1. The five-game minimum qualification must be League matches.

2. The introduction of a minimum three WAFL League matches post June 30 requirement. 

3. An adjustment of the AFL-listed player cap in finals matches down from 15 to 12.

4. The ability for AFL Clubs to submit special requests to the WAFC for young emerging players or players returning from injury to participate in the WAFL Finals when not qualified in accordance with the rules above. Any request endorsed must sit within the maximum cap of 12 players.

The rule changes above only applies when the AFL Club is eliminated or not participating in an AFL Final on the same weekend as the WAFL Partner Club.

WAFC CEO Gavin Taylor said the annual rules and regulations review process was an important part of the WAFC's focus on delivering a high standard, competitive and sustainable WAFL where all nine clubs have the opportunity to play for a premiership on a regular basis.

“We want to ensure that there is a close and competitive finals series, with consistency between team makeup in the home and away season and the finals. We’re confident these changes will help us deliver that,” Taylor said.

“The decision to reduce the AFL-listed player cap to 12 was based on four years of data that showed each WAFL Partner Club had averaged 12 AFL players in the home and away matches. Capping it at 12 delivers the consistency we are looking for as well as providing three opportunities for a local player at a partner club to participate in the WAFL Finals series.

Taylor said it is crucial local players at a WAFL Partner Club are given the best opportunities to continue their pathway at their club.

“The second half of the season qualification ensures that players who are elevated to the AFL competition and compete consistently in the AFL through the back half of the season are ineligible and in turn, provides local players at the WAFL Club the opportunity to continue to develop and play finals football,” Taylor said.

“However, based on the feedback we received from both AFL Clubs we have also introduced a rule that gives both Clubs scope to manage their lists through their ability to apply for an exemption if a young emerging player or player returning from injury fails to meet the relevant set criteria in the Finals Eligibility rule.”

Mr Taylor said it is imperative the rules and regulations of the WAFL competition are continually being reviewed and necessary changes are made.

“The best interests of all involved in the WAFL competition, including the players, the fans, club representatives, and officials, was paramount through this process and we will continue to review and adapt the WAFL competition, where necessary, to ensure it remains healthy and successful into the future.”

RULE CHANGE SUMMARY

'An AFL Player may play in the WAFL Finals where...'

2017 Rule Element

2018 Rule Element

Key principle for change

The player must have played a minimum of five WAFL matches

The player must have played a minimum of five WAFL League matches

Clarifies eligibility to ensure League matches only meet qualification requirements

n/a

The player has played a minimum of three WAFL League matches after June 30

Ensures consistency between home and away team makeup and finals series team makeup by requiring AFL-listed players to have competed in the WAFL in the second half of the season

Number of qualified AFL-listed players eligible to play does not exceed 15 AFL players

Number of qualified AFL-listed players eligible to play does not exceed 12 AFL players

Ensures consistency between home and away team makeup and finals series team

 Click here to download hot sheet on WAFL Finals Eligibility Rule changes.