Frankston Football Club’s decision to pass on a women’s Victorian Football League license was a disappointing blow to the code on the Mornington Peninsula, a junior football executive said today.
Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League (MPJFL) operations manager Paul Bartolo said the region had plenty of talented players who would’ve taken the step up to state league level.
“For sure it’s disappointing, there’s so much talent out this way,” he said.
“If there was a local VFLW team, that would boost the popularity of girls’ football so much more and I think it would be a big bonus if it happened.”
Mr Bartolo said despite significant expansion in registered players and the amount of talent now representing the league in the AFLW, the region continued to be overlooked for meaningful investment and development opportunities.
“Where we are today, we run age groups in under 18s, under 15s, under 13s, under 11s, and we’re probably going to expand more in the future, so it’s really kicked off,” he said.
“The MPJFL is in the Melbourne FC development zone. They run a training session (for talented young female players) but it doesn’t go anywhere. They don’t actually play any games whereas the boys play a game or two.
“Melbourne FC could do a lot more with the league, particularly with the girls. We’ve even had a couple of comments from parents saying they pay the same money as the boys, but they’re not getting any games.”
Former-Frankston Dolphins CEO Michael O’Neil said the Dolphins came to an agreement with the St Kilda Football Club in 2016 to eventually take over the Southern Saints VFLW license, but rising costs made the decision to end the agreement logical.
“It wasn’t that difficult a decision to be honest,” he said.
“The clubs who had VFLW teams expressed that due to the cost, they were really struggling to generate any revenue to offset it, and we still had to pay off debt.
“We wanted to do it, we thought it was really important but even then, we had some people advising us, and even head office said that it made perfect sense to not go ahead with the plan.”
Sandringham Football Club CEO David Cannizzo said his club took up the option previously afforded to the Dolphins, but was confident Frankston would one day field a VFLW team.
“The arrangement that was proposed was relinquished by Frankston and offered to Sandringham,” he said.
“We were happy to do it and it was done collaboratively because we knew Frankston had to get rid of their debt and consolidate their position.
“There’s absolutely the talent down there, no doubt. They only reason they don’t have a team now, and I don’t want to speak for them, is because they need to consolidate their financial position.”