Black Diamond AFL: Newcastle City, Terrigal-Avoca restricted on player signings

RESTRICTIONS: The likes of Riverina ruckman Chris Jackson won’t be able to sign with Newcastle City next season. Picture: Marina Neil.Premiership-winning Newcastle City player-coach Mitchell Knight said the Blues will remain focused on claiming back-to-back flags despite restrictions being placed on the clubrecruiting players next season.

Knight said he was disappointed with the decision, which was one of the key changes implemented for 2017 followingthe Black Diamond AFL annual general meeting at Belmont 16s on Sunday.

Newcastle City and Terrigal-Avoca, who between them have shared top grade grand final success the last nine years, will not be allowed to sign any existing or former players from anywhereunless they are returning to the club.

“More or less the BDAFL are trying to even up the competition,” Knight said.

“But from a Newcastle City perspective we feel as though instead of trying to help teams who might need assistance, they are punishing people that have had a bit of success on and off field.

“It’s something we have to deal with and it’ssomething we don’t agree with, but it’s not going to change our focus on what we want to achieve next year. Our ultimate aim is to win a premiership.”

Black Diamond AFL operations manager Garry Burkinshaw said it was about making a level playing field because the Blues and Panthers, outside fixtures against each other, had dropped just 10 games in the last four seasons and produced an average winning margin of 97 points.

“It’s not just a knee jerk reaction because of something that’s happened this year,” Burkinshaw said. “They have been dominant across the grades for a while now and have phenomenal depth. The wheels don’t seem to be turning and unless other clubs have a significant influx of players they won’t compete for a whole season.”

The two-year trialwill be reviewed after 12 months.

Another major move at the weekend’sAGM was introducing a Black Diamond Plate for clubs likeMaitland and Singleton as a stepping stone to the main competition. Reserve grade now falls below that in the pecking order. Team nominations are due next Friday.

Meanwhile, Killarney Vale have reappointed former Collingwood forward Scott Reed as coach for next season and he is set to take the field more ina playing role after afoot injury sidelined his first year at the Bombers.

In other player movements Warners Bay will be without rising star Jack Hardman who has relocated to Sydney to finish school and continue his career with the Swans while Cardiff’s Max Hillier has returned home to the Wagga Wagga region after finishing fourth in the Elliott Davey Medal count this season.

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