At the start of 2016, the AFL Yarra Ranges Netball Committee of Management made the recommendations to the League Board for the ‘Equalisation’ System. The idea of the system was to try and stop teams from becoming Superpowers by recruiting VNL (Victorian Netball League) players.
Currently in its third season, it’s the question on everyone’s lips, how has it affected the league? And has it been a positive effect? Speaking to Matthew Blanchard, co-ordinator of Olinda Ferny Creek Netball Clubs, the answer isn’t so simple.
“I argued and I still believe it now, that while we had to cap at the top, we also had to encourage bottom-rung clubs to invest more effort to and resources in to netball.”
“I believe it’s to the overall benefit to our league, that we have players of the calibre of, Ash Howard, Ella Bayliss, Kaitlyn Black, Sarah Hogan etc playing in our league. These players set a fine example to all players to aspire to.”
The system dictates that only 4 VNL Players can be on court at any given time. While the league implemented the system to stop teams becoming Superpowers, it’s specifics may need to be looked at, with most teams not even having more than four VNL players.
“It’s debatable whether [the system] had the desired effect or not. The success of it probably won’t be measurable for another year or two.”