AFL clubs would gain plenty by owning NBL teams in the way of access to athletic talent — something which should worry basketball officials, according to Dean Brogan.
The NBL has claimed some AFL clubs are ramping up discussions around forming teams to play in its slated expanded competition.
NBL chief Jeremy Loeliger has spruiked the commercial benefits for both sides, with crossover between AFL clubs and other sports already existing in Greater Western Sydney and Collingwood’s Super Netball teams.
Brogan, who’s uniquely positioned to discuss the prospect given he’s the only person to win both an NBL and AFL title, said larger AFL clubs would be well equipped to house professional basketball teams.
But Brogan, who played with the NBL’s Adelaide 36ers before becoming an AFL premiership ruckman for Port Adelaide, warned the NBL needs to prevent their players from being poached by talent-hungry AFL clubs.
“I’d be worried if I was the NBL because the AFL have been known to poach a lot of basketballers and turn them into footy players,” Brogan told AAP.
“You’d be pretty nervous about have 12 six-foot-10 athletes running around with the AFL coaches watching pretty closely.
“The big kids who don’t get games, I know what they’ll be doing. They’d be training them up to be ruckmen, I can guarantee you that.
“It’s good from a commercial point of view, but I don’t want all their big six- foot-10 players playing ruck for Collingwood on a Friday night.”
It’s understood Collingwood and Fremantle are interested in establishing NBL teams.
Loeliger, who has described the NBL’s expansion as “imminent”, said AFL clubs’ non-football department staff and medicos could be spread to work across multiple sports.
“There’s no mystery as to why it makes good commercial sense,” he told Melbourne radio 3AW.
“A netball team is exactly the same philosophy and strategy put to play.
“You’ve seen AFL teams go to AFLW, into netball. You’ve seen an NRL team go into netball.
“With talk of expansion hotting up, some of the real contenders are stepping forward.
“Obviously, there’s a couple here in Victoria who are pretty keen because we’ve made know already about the most likely expansion, I guess in the short term, coming from Victoria.”