Almanac Exclusive: 20th AFL team bids revealed

With the imminent announcement next week that the Tasmania Devils will be admitted as the AFL’s 19th club for the 2019 season, The Footy Almanac can exclusively reveal that talks surrounding a 20th club are extremely well advanced.


AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, fresh from solving the North-South divide in Tasmania that has helped the Apple Isle finally get to field it’s own team, has told stakeholders that an odd number of teams and the resulting bye isn’t good for the game, and greatly affects the League’s ability to schedule split rounds, which are much loved by footy fans.


The favoured, and strongest bid has come from SANFL club Norwood. New Norwood president Malcolm Ashwood, who was part of the planning committee for the new National Reserves Competition (NRC), has orchestrated a compelling case for Norwood, while along the way personally raising the 12 million dollar licence fee single handedly. “Four nights of selling raffle tickets at the Cathedral Hotel and the Wellington Hotel covered that easily, with plenty left over to fund a new grandstand at Norwood Oval,” said Mr Ashwood.


Norwood President Malcolm Ashwood speaking at the Redlegs AFL bid launch.


Norwood CEO Dave Brown spoke passionately about what the Redlegs could bring to the AFL. “The AFL is sadly lacking in a sense of community. Norwood will be a community based club while still displaying all the traits of an elite, professional club. The city of Adelaide is crying out for a club of the people. The Crows cater for the elite, while Port cater for the bogans. We will be the club for everyone. We will be more South Australian than Coopers, Barrie Robran and David Hookes. More South Australian than Jamie Siddons, Ashley Mallett, Clarrie Grimmett, The Don, Michael Klinger and Patrick Dangerfield,” said Mr Brown.


The Norwood bid has much support from the AFL, with the commission keen for extra matches at the Adelaide Oval, now rated as the greatest stadium in the world ever built. Brown confirmed some games would also be played at The Parade, against “smaller club’s like GWS, Gold Coast and Essendon, keeping the club firmly a part of the Norwood community.”


When quizzed about the jumper clash with Melbourne, Mr Ashwood commented that it wouldn’t be a huge issue given any club that employs Troy Chaplin as an assistant coach is highly unlikely to last much longer in the AFL anyway.


A bid from a group with the working title “Geelong City FC” also has launched strongly and has some support inside AFL House. “With the majority of all Geelong Cats fans now living in Northcote and Colac, the people who actually live in Geelong need a club that actually represents them,” explained Geelong City spokesman Nathan Ablett. Geelong City would play all games at Kardinia Park, and train initially at Moggs Creek until a suitable training facility can be developed in Geelong.


The third and final bid comes from the NEAFL team the Northern Territory Thunder. While some on the AFL commission like the idea of a team based in the Territory, the Darwin/Alice Springs divide is considered a much harder fix than the Hobart/Launceston divide so successfully healed by Gillon McLachlan. The Thunder’s bid is considered highly unlikely to be successful, and a much more realistic chance of inclusion in the next AFL expansion in 2030.


The winning bidder will be announced during half time of the AFLX Grand Final.

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Geoff Wilson says

    Now that is very funny, gave me a good laugh at work. Well done Luke.

  2. Dave Brown says

    Haha, I’m in!

  3. Browny we’re gunna take over the world ! Well played Luke bloody hilarious

  4. Eric Weltner says

    Very funny! Norwood in the AFL? Definitely had to be a piss take!

  5. Jamie Mason says

    Is that a recent photo Rulebook?

  6. very funny…good luck on selling those raffle tickets,lol

  7. Jeff Milton says

    A number of clubs in the current AFL who would like to have the underlying support base that Norwood has.

  8. Photo taken about 3 years ago Mase by Marc Robinson and the art work by Brenton Klaebe

  9. Dan Hansen says

    An AFL President who greets dignitaries wearing tracky dacks. I’ll support Norwood’s bid for that eventuality alone.

  10. Ah yes, well played, Crackers.
    I just love Almanac exclusives.

    THIS is what I want to read on a Friday arvo!
    Not stories and rumours about who may be traded where.

    Can you picture Rulebook at the AFL presidents’ dinner?

    Excellent stuff.

  11. Put a smile on my dial. Bloody ridiculous. But…………….it makes sense.

  12. Funny!!

  13. E.regnans says

    Look out, world.
    Other scenarios thought to be possible only in fiction have recently come into our lives…
    Great job crackers.

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    This gave me a Woodcock

  15. Mahatma Coat says

    Enjoyed that. Thanks for the link Book. Who gets the credit for the Troy Chaplin sledge? Do you have a lesser opinion of Simon Goodwin these days for working with Chaplin? Or a higher opinion for what he’s achieved despite working with Chaplin?

  16. Pick the odd president out:

    A, Trump
    B. Rulebook
    C. Kim Jong Un

  17. Sam McEwen says

    Hilarious. Clearly the Norwood Sturt bid should have triumphed in 1997 and Port should not be in the afl!

  18. Cat from the Country says

    Just the kaugh I needed after being done by Sydney!
    Enuff sed.

  19. That was funny.

  20. Jamie Siddons is a Victorian. Ashley Mallett hails from W.A

  21. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    That’s a cracker Crackers. Imagine Book as President of Collingwood? All the good, grassroots people might come back to the club.

  22. Can’t wait to see Malcolm bring Norwood some AFL premierships back to the Parade in a few seasons!

  23. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Mahatma brilliant move by Goody if the dees win it’s a Simon Goodwin and if they lose its bloody,Chaplin.
    Danny track suits are back in town baby.Hey Phil I would have a crack and Campbell we are taking over the world.

  24. Very humorous.

  25. That’s gold…very funny and a great read.

  26. Looking forward to the clash between Norwood and ‘small club’ Essendon at the Parade

  27. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks for the comments. Was fun to write, thanks to Rulebook for being such a good sport about it all.

    Mahatma-Chaplin sledge was mine, inspired by Rulebook, of course

    Mickey-C. Kim Jong Un

    Lachlan- Grimmett, Bradman, Klinger and Dangerfield all hailed from states other than South Australia too….

  28. Never let the truth get in the way off a good story what scares me is some off what has been mentioned in the article has been mentioned in real life

  29. Funny read mate.
    On another note the season for the Bombers faithful is now complete with wins over Carlton and smashing the Pies twice, puss face might actually keep his job with consecutive wins since losing to the red and black freight train.

  30. Cameron Glenn says

    Funny stuff. Im surprised there was not a bid from Wellington to allow a fierce rivalry with Fremantle and West Coast for the distance derbies of the AFL. Wollongong should have got a nod too and would form a fierce rivalry with Geelong in the Long Gong derby for the 2 regional cities.

  31. Luke Reynolds says

    Cameron- brilliant, love the sound of the Long Gong derby!!!

  32. A compelling case could be made for a 3rd AFL license in the Eastern Suburbs

  33. And this way Paul Kelly the musician and Norwood supporter could play at the AFL Grand Final every year

  34. Robert Bryson says

    Very clever. – I remember vividly our failed attempt at an AFL license when the terms were that two SANFL clubs had to merge to be considered. We and Sturt put in in a bid at huge cost something like $200,000. Port said they weren’t merging with anyone but were rewarded for their disloyalty due to their involvement with the Crows fiasco. We were all very upset and that’s why to this day people with long memories have not forgotten Ports actions in winning their license.

  35. Luke Reynolds says

    A lot has changed in the nearly 3 years since this was written. Tasmania and Norwood look like having to force their way into the 18 team competition at the expense of other clubs instead of a 20 team competition eventuating.

    Is The Parade being considered as a hub venue?

    And Rulebook has just been employed by the AFL to help pay back the 600 million line of credit. One raffle ticket at a time.

  36. george smith says

    Remember the L.A. Crocodiles?

  37. Geoffrey Wilson says

    Very funny the second time round as well Luke. I’m still coming to terms with the term Norwood President Malcolm Ashwood, it does have a ring to it though.

  38. Luke Reynolds says

    George- I don’t, was that a Sheedy idea?

    Geoff, it does, reckon M.Ashwood likes the sound of it too!

  39. Luke Reynolds says

    Have just googled the LA Crocodiles. Also finding “Melbourne United”, the proposed 3 way “equal” merger between Richmond, Fitzroy and North Melbourne. The 1980’s were insane…

  40. Just as good three years on, Crackers.

  41. Geoff Wilson says

    I know old habits are hard to change, but would it be possible for the new Norwood President and the CEO to refer to The Magnificent Norwood Oval as Coopers Stadium. In respect of the 75 odd years sponsorship. It is One of the longest partnerships in Australian Sport and what the ground is known as with the naming rights.

  42. Good to see the old Troy Chaplin sledge get another airing !!

    Not a shadow of doubt that the Darwin/Alice divide, aka The Berrimah Line, is greater than any little slash in the middle of the map of Tasmania, not a hope of ever getting over it either.

  43. Geoffrey Wilson says

    Dont take it to seriously boys. Love the comment about Adelaide Oval Luke, in all seriousness you are probably right.I am also sure one M. Ashwood loves the sound of it. I think Ian Micheal Chappell should be the first mentioned as far as South Australians go, along with Coopers and Hooksey of course.

  44. Luke Reynolds says

    Geoff, 75 years sponsoring Norwood is outstanding, must rival Ford at Geelong as one of Australia’s longest running sports sponsorships? Have enjoyed a few Coopers XPA cans in isolation, great drop.

    Thanks Smokie!

    Bucko, glad I got that one right, wished I’d heard of the Berrimah Line when I wrote it.

  45. AdelaideRams says

    This article does take the piss out of the Norwood AFL argument, but I unironically would support a 3rd SA bid if it was properly planned and had the financial/sponsorship backing. Norwood would be the best choice but they couldn’t be Red & Blue.

    They could take one of the nicknames AFC were considering before settling on Crows. Norwood Falcons does have a nice ring to it eh.

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