The NTFL Player-Points System Restricts Locals

The AFLNT should review the current player points system that restricts the freedom of local players.

While initially well-intentioned, the very rule that the governing body introduced to protect its local and junior players is having the opposite effect.

The current grading places four points on a local NTFL player if they wish to transfer to another NTFL club.

This is compared with three points for a Tier 2 player – someone who is from a country or metropolitan league not in the Northern Territory – and two points for a Tier 1 player that is either from the AFL, VFL, SANFL, WAFL or NEAFL.

We play at a semi-professional level at best and there are many valid reasons for a player wanting to transfer clubs.

The Darwin football community is tight-knit and some players may wish to switch clubs to honour a member of the family.

Take a look at William Rioli Jr, who left to play under his father who became the new coach of Tiwi Bombers at the start of last season.

He is now worth four points if he wishes to come back to St Marys and I do not feel we should begrudge a player for wanting to honour his family’s wishes.

A player may feel as though he is lacking Premier League opportunity at his current club – perhaps he is not considered in the best 22 and would like to try his luck elsewhere.

A player may have a personal difference with the coach, an assistant coach or a teammate and it would be in the best interests of both parties if he were to leave the club.

And last, but certainly not least, there are many reasons for why we play football and it just may happen that a player simply does not enjoy it at a certain club.

He should not be stuck there because he has played four Premier League games with them.

Those examples above seem like fair enough reasons that a player should be able to transfer to an opposition club without having four points placed on him.

With rumours floating around that the AFLNT are considering lowering the player points, this issue is likely to be accentuated.

To get a game with most clubs as a four-point player is a tough ask and this current grading could see players lost to the best competition in the Northern Territory.

Before the player points system was introduced, I do not believe there was an issue with interclub transfers in the NTFL.

Compared with other leagues across Australia, player match payments do not play a major role in the competition so other more financially strong clubs poaching talent should not be a problem.

Besides, there are clearly other ways around clubs poaching talent from rival opposition.

I understand the need to promote loyalty for players but you cannot force it onto them through a points system.

If a club creates a welcoming and inclusive environment for all its local players, it is highly unlikely they would want to leave.

At the end of the day if a player stays at a club purely because of an incentive, or deterrence to leave, is it really loyalty?


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About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.

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