Junior football clubs struggling for numbers can now more easily share players between different leagues after AFL Western District voted in favour of adjusting permit policies.
The adjustment, made on Thursday, allows clubs from the Hampden league and the Warrnambool and District league with between eight and 14 registered players available in any individual round to permit players from the alternate league when their home club has a bye.
This decision was triggered by feedback from clubs and coaches, with an example given last week where, under the old rules, the WDFNL's Kolora-Noorat wasn't able to lend players to the HFNL's Terang Mortlake despite having a bye.
Terang Mortlake president Dave Roberts said the Bloods' under 18.5 side had to face Hamilton Kangaroos with 15 players, just one above the minimum requirement, in a game they would lose by 115 points.
"We weren't looking for superstars," he said.
"But the two clubs have a good relationship and we try to help each other out.
"And at the end of the day it's just about having as many kids playing footy as possible."
But Roberts "strongly" welcomed the policy adjustment, as did Koroit under 18.5s coach Ben Woonton, whose side currently only has 11 registered players.
"I spend lots of time every week figuring out numbers and before this change it was really hard to find kids who would miss each week outside of byes," he said.
"So the adjustment is great, because it allows for decent games of footy with more boys on the park.
"It's a win for everyone."
Kolora-Noorat president Paul O'Sullivan agreed.
"If it frees us up to share players during bye rounds then I welcome the change," he said.
AFL Western District operations coordinator Mat Milne thanked the clubs and individuals who provided feedback to the governing body, which enabled the recommendation resulting in the updated policy.
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