AFL Riverina's introduction of a marquee player allowance and adjustments to the Player Points System to incentivise junior development have been backed by Riverina League club leaders.
Reductions in the PPS and salary cap to lure a marquee player, generally an ex-AFL or state league level player, has been mulled over for some time.
Previously clubs haven't been rewarded for bringing top quality players into their systems, for example Coolamon co-coach and ex-AFL player Jake Barrett, or Wagga Tigers luring coach Murray Stephenson from the SANFL.
The number of points allocated to those players also affected the quality of squad that could be built around them.
Changes have also been made to deter clubs poaching players from other leagues, with players moving between the Riverina, Farrer, Hume and Canberra leagues now slugged an extra point.
It was a big topic of discussion at a recent club delegates meeting, and Coolamon president Bryan Buchanan said it's important to find a happy medium between being able to sign top level talent and ensuring clubs are financially responsible.
"It's important that it was acknowledge. AFL Riverina has been looking at it for a while and I just think it helps with bringing quality players to the league and improving the standard of football.
"It's quite difficult to get a player straight out of the AFL or state leagues. It's the same with the Tigers and Murray (Stephenson), they should have been rewarded for that I think."
The Hoppers beat other Riverina clubs to sign Eastlake midfield Shae Darcy this week, but Buchanan backed differentiating signing a player from a high standard league to a lower standard one.
"I think it makes sense, it stops too much movement," he said. It makes sense that a player from Canberra or the Ovens and Murray, for example, are worth more than a Northern Riverina or Central West player," he said.
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The Tigers have been one of the quieter movers in terms of recruitment recently, backing themselves to develop their juniors.
But Stephenson said the new system will give clubs scope to find a mix that suits their circumstances.
"I think the marquee exemption is a great idea, because the argument can be made that sometimes the player points system might restrict the league from attracting big name players of those who've played state league football," Stephenson said.
"It also encourages clubs to invest in their junior program. That's a good thing for us because we've got a solid junior base, as have some junior clubs.
"That's the way we'll go about it, try and back the juniors that will come through the lower grades and hopefully play senior football for a long time for us.
"But if you can get that marquee player from time to time to be a cherry on top and add some genuine match winning ability, it's going to help.
"You want some role models for your younger guys and the more you have who can teach them, the better the footy club will be."
Stephenson said the extra point for players moving to different leagues will help clubs retain their depth.
"We've traditionlaly had that problem, Farrer league clubs approaching juniors of ours who are on the fringe of playing regular senior footy, but go there for a guaranteed game in the seniors," he said.
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