FOR the meantime inter-league football in Victoria has been left in the hands of competitions to organise their own matches in 2020.
According to AFL Victoria, 70 per cent of clubs and leagues that responded to a review of its Community Championships believe the format, which has been played since 2010, not continue in its current form.
As such the Community Championships for next year are gone, but the opportunity is still there for leagues to organise "who, when and where" they play a representative game in 2020, with funding to still be available from AFL Victoria.
At this stage it looks as if Bendigo is set to renew its goldfields rivalry with Ballarat, while the Heathcote District league has its sights set on the Murray league.
And both the Loddon Valley and North Central leagues have indicated they will seek feedback from their clubs on whether they would support an inter-league game next year.
So while the onus for representative games has been put back on to leagues for next year, how could the Community Championships look in 2021 if they return?
How abut the idea of creating a pool system that would lead to a three-year inter-league cycle that starts with scraping the metropolitan leagues and gets the Championships back to purely country-based.
Leagues could be divided up into pools of four - Pool 1 being the top echelon of leagues. There could be six, seven, eight pools depending on the number of leagues wanting to compete.
Across three years all teams in each pool play each other once and at the end of the three-year cycle each pool has its own ladder and a promotion-relegation system could apply.
The bottom-placed team in Pool 1 is replaced by the top team in Pool 2 and so forth and a new cycle of matches is then created.
Under this system each league is guaranteed a different opponent every three years (remember, Bendigo played only Gippsland and Ballarat between 2012 and 2017) and it provides the opportunity for some continuity in terms of effectively a three-year tournament to invest in rather than just one-off matches where leagues go up and down the rankings depending on the result.
Sure, there will be travel involved, but given last week's AFL Victoria announcement, any ideas to try to reinvigorate the inter-league format should at least be thrown up for discussion.
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