There’s been a management change in the AFL Membership Department.

Shaun Welch is now responsible for National Ticketing. The new AFL Membership Manager, Darren Birch, hails from a number of years as the Brisbane Lions Membership Manager.  Lisa Laing has moved up to Member Data Bases Systems Manager.


Last week your President, Vice President, Treasurer and 3  Committee Members met Darren & Lisa and were impressed with their approach to their new responsibilities.

Darren stressed the importance of AFL Members to the AFL and pointed out that they have a solid membership base upon which to build. He recognized that things have changed over time and is looking to increase the value of membership in a positive way.


Our meeting lasted 2 hours and canvassed a wide range of issues, including many  matters raised in emails sent by you, the Members, in recent times. Following is a summary of discussions:-


  • The AFL wishes to retain current memberships and to grow Silver membership.


  • There is consideration being given to the benefits that exist for Full and Silver Members and whether there is a need to have benefits that differentiate between the two categories.


  • The AFLMA stated the view that the current system of lining up 5 times to purchase seats at the MCG & Telstra Dome is very unpopular and should be scrapped. Darren and Lisa put the contrary view. More work to be done.


  • Walk-ups will never be available for Grand Finals.


  • Walk-ups will be available at other games in varying degrees. The AFLMA put a strong case for walk-ups as requested by many Members. The AFL pointed out that many Members want to pre-book. It was agreed that the solution revolves around availability of the best seats, particularly at the MCG.


  • The AFLMA strongly recommended that bookings for the Grand Final not be available on the internet, however the AFL disagreed, stating that fairness and equity might be better served by including this option. Stay tuned.


  • The high cost of Guest Passes was raised. Darren questioned whether AFL Member guests should be paying less than the general public (which is currently the case) and stated that the matter is under review.


  • Fees and charges for ticket purchases via the phone and internet were discussed.

These charges are under review with the ticketing agency.


  • Darren undertook to look at the Country Members surcharge which the AFLMA

considers unfair.


  • The AFLMA asked about a system that would allow for the return and refund of pre-booked tickets and Darren indicated that their new membership / ticketing program will have the potential for this facility in the future, but not for Season 2006.


  • The AFLMA expressed strong concern about the ever reducing number of Bays in Section N on Level 2 for AFL Members. Lisa stated that there were only 2 such Bays available for Members on most match days. It was pointed out that there were none at one game. This is a dramatic reduction by any calculation and has come about in part because of a decision to relocate Club Social Clubs from the ground level. Little consideration appears to have been given to the AFL Members who have been sitting on Level 2 for many years, particularly older female Members. The AFL was asked to re-evaluate the situation.


  • The AFLMA stressed the importance of all Bays that were originally part of the AFL Reserve prior to the MCG re-building program being returned to it.


  • We asked whether the policy of declaring some matches as Blockbuster

fully-ticketed games will be continued next year. Darren pointed out that the AFL Membership Department has only a limited say in this decision which is primarily a decision taken by the AFL in conjunction with the competing Clubs, the venues and the  ticketing agent.


  • Darren agreed to check the cross-over policy at the MCG so we can update Members.


*          The AFLMA put a strong case for some form of compensation to Members should both Preliminary Finals be played interstate this year. Our argument revolved around a further loss of value for AFL membership. We suggested that one compromise would be to offer seats to competing Club Support Members. Darren was not in a position to reply but will take the matter up on our behalf.


  • The AFLMA likewise suggested that if, due to the Commonwealth Games, next year’s Anzac Day match is played in Sydney, this would amount to a further loss of value. Darren disagreed with this highlighting the 40 games that Members were entitled to attend each year. We countered by stating that this was cold comfort to the many Melbournians who always attended this game. We asked if consideration could at least be given to the provision of free tickets or the use of AFL membership cards for those Members able to travel interstate for the match.



  • Again, being mindful of membership value, we raised the point that, as most Members supported a particular team, and as numerous games were now being played interstate, we believed it appropriate that AFL Members should have entry rights for all interstate Home & Away games and Finals. Darren agreed to look at.


  • For some time, the AFLMA has been concerned about Members who arrive at a ground having lost or forgotten their membership cards, noting that a service is available for MCC Members. Darren indicated that he will look at the possibility of introducing a verification system, but is dependant upon the ability to have a viable system available at gates. The AFLMA suggested the introduction of photo ID. Darren noted that, for this to occur, membership cards would need to be issued for more than one year in duration due to the cost and logistics involved in having photos on cards.


  • We raised the subject of pre-match entertainment, stressing that most patrons wanted to see a game of football prior to the main match, rather than be rendered semi-deaf by very loud blaring music and/or promotions. We highlighted that

pre-match games are played at most interstate venues, why not at the home of Aussie Rules, Melbourne? Darren agreed to take the matter up on our behalf.


  • The AFLMA has consistently lobbied for improved social facilities at all grounds. Darren said that this was being seriously looked at. We also expressed concern at the high prices of take-away food at grounds and the lack of variety. 


  • The AFL Members booklet was discussed. The AFLMA believes it should contain more information and be a lot clearer. It was agreed that a valuable service would be to have the booklet available on the AFL’s website together with a search facility.


  • It is the AFLMA’s understanding that AFL Full Membership is, and will be, capped at 28,000, primarily to ensure that Members can get seats at Grand Finals, other Finals and popular H & A games. Darren indicated that he could not give a commitment that this policy would be continued. The AFLMA intends to monitor this closely.


  • We understand that Essendon charges non-Essendon Member supporters a premium of $10-00 per ticket at the Telstra Dome for their home games. Darren was not aware of this and will enquire. Non-Essendon supporters stay tuned.


  • Discount benefits for AFL Members at AFL Shops is under review.


Your AFLMA Committee all felt that the meeting was extremely worthwhile. We are confident that Darren is receptive and co-operative and will bring a refreshing approach to AFL Membership based on his successful Brisbane experience. He agreed to have regular on-going meetings with the AFLMA.


Your Committee hopes you’ve enjoyed this update and urges you to encourage other AFL Members to join your free Association by accessing the Registration Form via our .




If you're going to a night game at the Telstra Dome and intend to "walk up", you'll probably arrrive at the ground early. Why not secure your seat and then head for one of Melbourne's smallest bars -


                        BAR HUM BUG

                        586 Little Bourke Street

                        (On the left before King Street)


A pot costs $2-50 and a steak sandwich with chips and salad just $12-00.


The staff are friendly, the menu offers a good choice, and their wine list is extensive. Turn left at the bottom of the Spencer Street stairway, walk half a block to Little Bourke Street, then when you reach 586, step down to the bar.


You'll enjoy it I promise you.