The likely AFL decision to keep the women’s league at eight teams has upset Geelong, who were banking on expansion next year.
This week, league chief executive Gillon McLachlan said 2019 was probably the earliest that new teams would join the women’s competition.
That prompted a public reaction from Cats chief executive Brian Cook.
“Look, I’m disappointed to be honest. But there must be some good reasons why they’re doing what they’re doing,” Cook told the club website.
“I can understand where Gill has come from. He wants the competition to be consolidated.”
“I think his original view was we should expand the competition in 2018. That’s changed.”
Geelong’s concern is one of the first signs of inevitable teething problems with the new league after an opening round last weekend that exceeded all expectations.
The Cats have formed their own VFL women’s side after missing out on an AFLW licence.
Cook said they had banked on joining the league next season and would spend between $250,000 to $300,000 this year on preparing a women’s team.
“I think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t allow all the women’s supporters in Geelong to support clubs other than Geelong. That’s a real issue for me,” he said.
“I think we’ve got to also be really careful that the players we bring up over the next 12 to 24 months aren’t simply snapped up by other clubs and they stay at the other clubs.”