Perennial Bellarine League battler Portarlington will have extra points and more money to play with during the 2024 season.
After successfully lobbying AFL Victoria, the Demons, winless since Round 16, 2018 and entering 30 years since their most recent finals appearance, will play with a maximum of 50 points under the Player Points System (PPS) – up from 46 in 2023 – and be allowed an extra ten per cent on their player payments.
The BFNL’s football salary cap is set at $80,000, with the Demons given the green light to spend $88,000.
President Steve Cogger has welcomed the concessions his club will receive.
“We expressed to the AFL that we needed this for a couple of years to let us settle and improve,” he said.
“The best thing that can happen for the Bellarine is for us to improve because we’ve got a big community base that loves going to the games, (and) they love the netball.
“We bring crowds. Within reason, they want us to be successful.”
Portarlington, which most recently played finals in 1994 and last won a senior premiership in 1992, has been one of the most active clubs on the BFNL recruiting front this pre-season.
Cogger says the additional PPS and salary cap have helped in adding that trio, along with Menadue’s brother Joel, fellow Altona addition James Goetz, and ex-St Albans player Steve Heppell.
“Our existing list stayed, so we gained points there,” he said.
“We went to our current playing list and said, ‘Look. We’ve got to be able to attract quality players’.
“To a man, they took a 20 per cent pay cut, which gave us the ability to identify players.”
A neighbouring town has also provided Portarlington with some new additions.
It has struggled to attract players from St Leonards since the demise of that town’s club in the mid-1990s, whose formation many believe has contributed to the Demons’ struggles over the past three decades.
“Now we’ve recruited three who are probably going to play in our firsts,” Cogger said.
“That’s the change in lifestyle we’re experiencing down this way, so that’s been a plus for us.
“We’re going to have to manage this (points and salary cap) like every club does.
“We know the laws, and we abide by the rules.”
Portarlington, which will mark its 150th anniversary this year, opens its season against Newcomb at Ron Evans Oval on Good Friday.
It will also host the annual Anzac Day meeting with Drysdale, with its sesquicentennial celebration game against Queenscliff in Round 18.
“We played a team from Queenscliff in our first game, so that’s the last game of the year in early August,” Cogger said.
“That will be a big finale for the year.”