Dogs to have stand alone VFL team
The Western Bulldogs have become the latest club to go it alone in the VFL after they announced their alignment with Williamstown would come to an end following the 2013 season.
The Bulldogs' affiliation with Williamstown was due to go on until at least the end of 2014, but that was brought forward by one year by the Dogs.
The Bulldogs join Essendon and Richmond in turning their backs on their VFL alignments and field stand-alone teams in the second-tier competition.
The Bombers split with Bendigo at the end of this season and will field a reserves side in the VFL for the first time since 2002 next year, while the Tigers are due to part ways with Coburg at the end of 2013.
Those three clubs join Collingwood and Geelong as AFL clubs who already have stand-alone teams in the VFL with a desire for greater control over the development of emerging players central to the termination of affiliations.
The latest developments mean the number of teams in the VFL looks set to grow from 13 to 16 in time for the start of the 2014 season.
Bulldogs chief executive Simon Garlick said he was pleased that his club will be able field its own team in the VFL in a couple of years' time.
"The establishment of a stand- alone VFL side has been a clear strategic objective for the club and it is very pleasing this will become a reality in 2014," Garlick said.
"This outcome is consistent with our increased focus and commitment to the development of our young exciting players.
"This decision supports our aim to build and develop our team from within and the ultimate delivery of sustainable success, both on and off the field."