By SAMUEL DARROCH
RELATED COVERAGE: Gippsland’s player points systems
RELATED COVERAGE: Player payments under scrutiny
THE virtues of player points systems as an equaliser in country football have been sung by all three Gippsland football leagues.
Each league has its own tweaked and tailored PPS with individual nuances, but all praised its general effect in reducing the gap between top and bottom sides.
Last season’s North Gippsland Football Netball League general manager Gordon Bayley believes the closeness of last season’s competition, in which second to seventh were separated by four points, was in large due to the PPS coming in to full effect after three years of phased implementation.
The NGFNL system allocates its maximum points quota based on the number of wins in the previous season, with an effective range of 30-38 points.
NGFNL juniors, new and returning players, and NGFNL non senior players receive the minimum one point allocation at one end of the spectrum, with AFL recruits attracting the maximum four points at the other.
Two and three point allocations are issued based on recent playing history, a commonality between all three Gippsland Leagues.
Bayley said the PPS had been a welcome change in regulation from the VCFL’s salary cap.
“We think it may have contributed to the closeness of our season… it seems to be a pretty good system, very open not like the old salary cap system which was very hard to police… it was just impossible to pick up on payments made outside the normal payment system,” Bayley said.
The Gippsland League has employed its PPS for more than “five or six years” after losing faith in the salary cap.
The key to its formula is the distribution of points based on the size of the township in question, ranging from a maximum of 31 to 50 for towns with under 1000 people.
“It works well for us and we haven’t had any real dramas with it,” 2013 GL general manager Chris Soumilas said.
“Salary cap was impossible to police and people thought people were lying (anyway).”
With regard to the issue of rising player payments, Soumilas said while the PPS could not control the flow of money, it could still stem it by degrees and lead to a level playing field.
“It (PPS) wasn’t about payments… basically you could have a big strong powerful club with heaps of money but they couldn’t go out and buy everyone, (so) basically it hamstrung them,” Soumilas said.
“It allowed a weaker town to go out and get a few extra. It hasn’t done anything to stop the rates of pay… (but) we haven’t had our rich clubs (buy premierships either).”
Soumilas stressed clubs needed to be responsible with their funds and ensure a percentage goes toward maintenance and facilities.
“If you can reimburse people a reasonable amount that’s not a bad thing… it is a balance.”
An unworkable salary cap also led to the PPS being introduced in the Mid Gippsland Football Netball League about five years ago.
League president Gary Matthews said he believed widespread implementation of a PPS in country football could only be beneficial.
“This has probably worked out a fairer system,” he said.
“It has helped some of the lower clubs… at the moment it seems to be evening things up a little bit anyway.”
PPS nuances in brief
– Township population determines point quotas – max 50, min 31
– Returning juniors receive minimum point allocation
– Points reduced per continuous years of service after two seasons
– System encourages promotion of youth from within clubs
Mid Gippsland League
– 30 point allocation with bonuses of up to 4 points based on ladder position
– Points deducted per season of service
– No concessions for senior playing coach
North Gippsland League
– Previous season win loss ratio determines point quotas
– Discount for players returning to a club within 5 year period
– Points reduced per continuous year of service
– Senior playing coach receives minimum point allocation