I’m a massive fan of a national reserves competition.
For me, it’s an absolute no-brainer and a must for the AFL to bring in.
The biggest hurdle when the topic is discussed is always the state leagues… what would happen to the SANFL, NEAFL or the WAFL?
There will of course be a natural bite at the start, but after a year or two it would settle down and the landscape would accept this is how it works.
Have a real think about it, the idea could actually do a lot of good for the state competitions.
SANFL clubs would rather not have Port Adelaide or Adelaide in the competition - I think Adelaide knows for a fact how resentful the crowds are towards them.
And it’s a fair enough response, the Magpies and the Crows can roll out half an AFL playing list each week…
The SANFL will need to cop the decision and move on - the league has always been good at forging its own identity.
So what’s the first step?
Port Adelaide could well be the most difficult stumbling point in the AFL’s reserves competition.
For a Power reserve team to work in the national competition, you would have to say goodbye to the Magpies - an unpopular opinion I know.
But what’s important to recognise is that Port Adelaide is an AFL club, not a SANFL club.
You cannot keep assuming two identities…
Don’t get me wrong, I recognise and love what Port Adelaide have done, don’t get me wrong one bit on that.
However, in this new age going forward, if we are to have a national reserves comp, it has to be goodbye to the Port Adelaide Magpies.
In comparison, moving the Crows across should be as simple as a yes please.
But what’s the point?
First and foremost, it would be incredible for team comradery.
As it stands, you have two teams that separate during the second half of the week and on weekends… Not exactly good for morale.
Imagine, instead, a full Crows list travelling to Perth to face the Eagles - you can put the twos on as a curtain raiser.
You’re sharing changerooms, arriving to the ground together, fans can watch the young draftees compete in the build up to the main game.
You want fan engagement? Punters would feel so much closer to a team if they could watch the full squad perform during one day out.
What about teams from other states?
There is of course more to consider than just the Power and Crows.
Take Brisbane or Sydney, both have acknowledged that the NEAFL is not up to standard for players to regain form.
It’s not one notch down, it’s four or five notches down.
Giving their reserves side the chance to compete against other AFL-listed players would greatly improve their development.
Those players, particularly the young ones, would have a far better understanding of what it means to play AFL and what it requires.
And come the end of the season?
You have to play finals, premierships at any level are priceless.
I’m adamant that in a reserves comp that it shouldn't be like the EPL, where whoever finishes on top of the table wins it.
And the AFL Grand Final day would be a spectacle - use the reserves competition as a curtain raiser… make a day of it.
The sooner we get a national reserves competition, the better.
Dale Lewis is the co-host of Triple M’s The Rush Hour with Jars & Louie, weekdays from 3-4pm and 6-7pm.
Lewis played 182 games for the Sydney Swans between 1990 and 2001.