North Melbourne and Werribee will both be fielding standalone sides in the 2018 VFL season after mutually concluding a successful 10-season agreement.
It will be the first time since 1999 that both teams have not had an AFL/VFL partner, the Kangaroos having competed previously in conjunction with the Ovens and Murray Football League (Murray Kangaroos), Port Melbourne, North Ballarat, and Tasmania (Devils).
The VFL Tigers were affiliated with the Western Bulldogs prior to joining with North Melbourne in 2008.
The biggest impact to both clubs will be in player development.
"This is a significant step for us as and is in line with our broader strategic aims and objectives as we continue to head into an exciting new era," said North Melbourne’s General Manager of Football Cameron Joyce.
"There is a lot of work to be done in order to prepare for next season, but first and foremost, we are focused on ensuring that our current alignment with Werribee ends on the highest possible note.”
Werribee senior coach John Lamont, who has experienced the alignment from both sides’ perspective, is excited by the future direction for his playing group.
“What a wonderful opportunity for a player to come to our club in 2018. We have a new multimillion-dollar facility and the chance to showcase our football ability on the big stage in a club environment second to none.”
Both agreed the relationship has worked for both clubs.
“The professionalism and cooperation has been exceptional. We are both tremendously grateful to have been in a partnership between two great clubs for nearly a decade.”
North began its partnership with Werribee in 2008, and although the on-field relationship will come to an end, the clubs will continue to work closely off the field.
"We have extremely strong ties with Werribee, and I am pleased to say that this will still be the case going forward," said North CEO Carl Dilena.
"We will be looking at ways to continue our work together in the Wyndham region to help develop talent pathways for boys and girls, find new ways to grow the game, and help develop key staff.”
"While we will go our separate ways on the field, the same can't be said off the field, and we will use our existing goodwill to further build and enhance our relationship in an effort to achieve some positive outcomes for the Wyndham community."
Werribee President Martin Carter endorsed Dilena’s thoughts.
“We have built a solid foundation between the two clubs to enhance and grow our ongoing community-based programs.
“The City of Wyndham can look forward to this continuing. More and more, we see our future players and supporters coming from our vibrant multicultural city. Our aim remains the same: to ensure the Werribee Tigers have a sustainable and successful future on and off the field.”
While planning will begin immediately for 2018 for both clubs, everyone remains focused on the current season.
"We are all committed to ensuring this season is a successful one for North Melbourne and Werribee" said Carter.
North Melbourne affiliations
2000-2002: Murray Kangaroos Football Club
2003-2005: Port Melbourne Football Club
2006-2007: North Ballarat Football Club and Tasmanian Devils Football Club
2008-2015: North Ballarat Football Club and Werribee Football Club
2016-2017: Werribee Football Club
2018- : Standalone
2000: Western Bulldogs (partial with Wiliamstown)
2001-2007: Western Bulldogs
2008-2015: North Melbourne (partial North Ballarat)
2016-2017: North Melbourne
2018- : Standalone