In breaking news across the desk of AussieFaithful, early discussions between parties associated with the National Gridiron League and Gridiron Australia have begun to boost the exposure of the Australian Gridiron League (AGL) competition next season.
After the disappointment of the NGL being rescheduled to October 2017, Gridiron Australia and the NGL look to be taking the opportunity to try to work again to enhance the exposure of the amateur game in Australia.
What is the AGL? What can the NGL offer?
The AGL, the pinnacle of representative Gridiron in Australia, is a round robin tournament played over a six-week period between teams from only four states.
Gridiron Victoria, who are not under the Gridiron Australia banner, Gridiron ACT and Gridiron Tasmania did not participate in the 2016 tournament won this year by the Queensland Sundevils.
Played on local suburban fields in front of small crowds, the AGL is a competition that has the potential to provide a stage for local players to show their abilities for professional leagues.
@AussieFaithful around 150 or so. But I don't know really.
— Susanne Randall (@Susieaxemen) May 14, 2016
It is intended to be the showcase of amateur gridiron in Australia, and now with the two parties appearing to be in discussions, the tournament may get the exposure it deserves.
Unfortunately at this time information on the competition is lacking, with the website not updated since 2014, and a Facebook page the only small pieces of information for those not involved in the sport.
There has been heavy criticism of the NGL and Gridiron Australia for the exclusion of local bodies in the set up of Australia’s first professional league.
How much of that is warranted from either party is for those inside meeting room walls.
But now it appears the NGL and Gridiron Australia are looking at meeting half way to bring the competition back to it’s intended level.
The AGL on TV and in major stadiums
While discussions seem to be just starting, it is our understanding the NGL are proposing to help boost the AGL tournament by leveraging their existing partnerships with stadium and television networks to bring the AGL competition to casual fans of the game.
A move for the AGL to first-class stadiums would be a major boost to the amateur game in Australia and provide exposure to players who would not otherwise be seen by the casual fan.
Can fences be mended?
The AGL seems like a vehicle that could provide a middle ground for the professional and amateur organisations to work together.
One thing is for sure, those that work tirelessly at the amateur level of the game deserve a competition that rewards their efforts.
The players especially deserve a showpiece that can highlight the amateur game and give players an experience that matches the honour that comes with representing your state.
Playing at major stadiums like Suncorp, Central Coast or CBUS Stadium on national television is an experience not available to most.
The question is, can Gridiron Australia and the NGL hug it out?
Watch this space for further developments.