devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

Men’s AVL (or blink and you might miss it)

Posted by edbinnie on September 12, 2009

Men’s AVL is just around the corner.

A provisional draw has been released, for what is now a 6 team, 3 round competition. Men’s AVL Draw


  • Round 1 – Brisbane – 16 Oct – 18 Oct
  • Round 2 – Canberra – 30 Oct – 1 Nov
  • Round 3 – Perth – 13 Nov – 15 Nov
  • Finals – Melbourne – 5 Dec – 6 Dec


  • AIS
  • UTS Sydney Uni
  • Queensland Pirates
  • Melbourne Monash Uni Blues
  • Western Australia
  • Canberra Heat

Unfortunately no team from South Australia (hence the cancelation of the South Australian hosting round)

Format is double round robin, with 3 or 4 games in a weekend.

No details on team lists, although I’m sure the teams are already selected – can anyone fill us in on your home state?

16 Responses to “Men’s AVL (or blink and you might miss it)”

  1. edbinnie said

    Didn’t want to editorialize the post too much, but here are my thoughts!

    Remember – This is the “pinnacle” of men’s volleyball in Australia.
    If you don’t include VTAM scrimmage training in Canberra. Or AJVC.

    4 games in 44 hours. Including warm up, cool down, and (on average) a 4 set match, that’s almost 12 hours of volleyball for senior “elite” men. All I can say is ouch. There will definitely be high quality games on display here – especially on Saturday and Sunday afternoons – you know the showcase matches?

    8am match in Round 2. Awesome. The crowd is definitely going to be huge, and the players with be all fired up. And Uni Blues will be backing up from a Friday night game at 6pm. So the guys will have 12 hours to cool down, eat dinner, sleep, have breakfast and warm up. We don’t ask Juniors to do it, we don’t do it in state tournaments, so why in the top league in the country?

    I can’t believe that Uni Blues have to wait til Sunday to play their 3rd game, when they will be done by 10am on Saturday. Flights mid weekend are generally cheap, and they could avoid paying for an extra night’s accommodation. Thank goodness for Equalization, so all 6 teams help pay for bad draws like that.

    All WA’s round 1 and 2 games are out of whack with WA time – affecting players circadian rhythm. You can do that in a week long tournament, with 2 or 3 days to prepare. Not so well for weekend tournaments. Some how WA always seem to grin and bare it. But its easy enough to avoid.

    UTS Sydney Uni play round 3 game at 10pm AEST. After getting off a 5 hour flight earlier that day (or red eye from the night before). Tough! (note – WA have no Friday night games to avoid this problem) Then back up for the first match the next day. Double Ouch.

    And a pet peeve for me (Sorry WA players, fans, and administrators) flying 5 teams across the country for a home round is not a great move for a league that is aimed at keeping the costs down. At least there’s Travel Equalization, so WA really will be paying for it. I know this will probably generate a fair bit of comment, and the only team not hosting a round is Sydney, but if its a cost decision, the AIS and Heat can drive to Sydney, QLD and VIC fly for $100 to $150 a head, and WA pay $700 a head to travel. The money that the other teams save, they can combined afford to pay ENTIRELY for WA’s travel to that round, plus spending money. Based on Cost to travel between cities, and number/location of teams in the league, Canberra and Sydney should be 2 of the hosting cities. Alternate between SA and WA as to who gets the other round each year. Or better still get rid of Grand Prix AVL. Its what everyone said they wanted at the AVL review in 2007 (and the AVF acknowledge that).

    Final Series – has Semis with a Qualifying Final. The Qualifying Final is the same day as the Finals, as opposed to the night after the semis. So think about player energy. You lose or win your semi to make the qualifier. Win, you’re stoked because you play for Gold, but you spent a lot of energy to get there. You are relieved. It will take a huge mental effort to genuinely get your head into the gold game. Lose, and you’re bummed, and have to back up in less than an hour. But you spent your mental and physical resources on the Qualifier with no recharge time, so you’re done. If you move the game to 6pm or 7pm Sat night, then you have several hours to gear up for the match, and then the entire night to prepare for the final matches.

    So on to Predictions (dangerous without team lists, but very doable, given how the draw is going to dictate things)

    1. AIS will be minor premiers. This format is all about depth and fitness, and that’s exactly what the AIS have. Look for them to go 10-0. Team most likely to beat them – QLD in Round 2. It will be a first up match for QLD, and they generally have the legs to match it with the height of the AIS. WA might be able to do it in that round too, but only if a) AIS beat QLD, and b) WA drink lots of coffee to wake up. If QLD beat AIS, then AIS will 3-0 WA. Uni Blues and UTSSU have the draw against them. Heat could pop a surprise, depending on who’s playing, and what sort of head games they can suck the young fellas into.

    2. Round 2 will just be ugly. 2 weeks recovery from the previous round, late games, then early games. It just won’t be pretty volleyball. Good luck to coaches and trainers to prove me wrong.

    3. Teams are gonna miss flights on Sunday nights. Four 2 hr time slots, fatigued (sloppy) play, means games will be long, and courts will run late. If you’re on the 3pm game (Heat and Uni Blues!!), don’t book a flight before 9pm.

    4. Teams are going to complain about the referees. I know – you say I’m cheating. That always happens. 3 rounds. 10 matches a round. 3 referees (plus chief ref) per match. So you need 4 refs Friday night, 7 Refs on Saturday, and 7 on Sunday. Better hope The best refs are available that weekend, otherwise you are going down a long way to get refs on games. These games are supposed to have as high or higher an intensity than AJVC U21s. Does each city have 7+ refs that can handle that? Are they all available that weekend? Are they available to give up their whole weekend? Remember – its 1 month away, and the draw changed.

    5. Whoever loses SF2 is going to win bronze. Reasons are above – they get great recovery, and have plenty of time to focus on beating their opponent in that game.

    6. Winner of SF1 will be odds on to take gold. If I am the coach of a team in the Qualifying Final, I will only use my starting lineup in Sets 3,4 and 5 of the QF, and 3, 4 and 5 of the Gold. Hope the other teams run out of juice, and minimise the effort that my starters have to put in. Dangerous play, but unless your bench is as good as your starters, you’ll need your best to play the deciding sets.

    7. Kids at AVSC will comment that they think the Open Honours games were better than the AVL finals. I’ve said it several times now, but really? back to back games for the finals (and only for 1 team in each of the medal games)? In front of the captive audience of 2000? to showcase the “pinnacle” of volleyball in Australia?

    Honestly, I hate to be so negative. But its our AVL. 3 state teams, 2 club teams, 1 pro team. Its not like it’s hard to take these things into account. The AVF have had time to do it. And it’s not like AJVC or AVSC, where you had hundreds/thousands of teams that you need to fit into a formula. Give me a six pack of beer, a pizza, 6 phone numbers, and the internet, and we can work something out in a night, that works for fans, players, coaches, and referees.

  2. Dad said

    Ah yes, AVL.

    Its all in the timing.

    Round One 16-18 October Brisbane. Does anybody remember just what is on in Sydney that weekend? World Masters Games! So we have 1100 senior volleyball players,some of who just might have something to do with the running of our sport in their own country, paying a lot of their own money to get here, and we decide to export some of our best local officials and players to Brisbane for the weekend. Just think of the lost PR and contact making opportunity- the young AIS guys should be helping out, they could make some money being refs, making contact with keen volleyball people from all over the world. ALL AVF staff should be ‘on deck’ all week, because if it does not go well, it will reflect on Australian Volleyball worldwide.

    So on to Round Two 30 Oct-1 November Canberra. Does anybody remember what is on in Canberra that weekend? Yes, AVF Annual meeting, awards night and our National Referees Forum. So our Team members and officials will be involved with the matches and unable to participate in anything else, our best Refs should be doing the AVL matches but they should also be attending or organizing the Refs Forum, and our AVF officials will be concentrating on everything else other than AVL. But at least the Volleyball community will be together, as one, as usual.

    So on to Round Three 13-15 November Perth. I really cannot get around the logic of flying the Canberra Heat to Perth, to play another team from Canberra, a Melbourne team, and one from Brisbane. They do not play WA.

    And the quality of volleyball, whatever the matchup, in those forth games of the weekend, will not be very good, and injury rates will go up.

  3. Steve said

    Does any one know how much participation in AVL costs? I have no idea, but it doesn’t sound as though it would be cheap. If I was still playing I think I would be pushing for going overseas for a week to play in a tournament somewhere before participating in this competition.

    • devo said

      The entry fee for the 2009 AVL is set at $4070 (inc. GST) with a fair equalisation component.

      The following is not included as part of the entry fees:
       Teams book and pay for all flights to all rounds and finals series
       All team accommodation for the Series.
       All team ground transport.
       Venue hire expenses for hosting rounds, but this has been accounted for in the Equalisation Model (see
      Appendix B).

      • Steve said

        Thanks Al … yes playing in a tournament in south east Asia sounds far more appealing to me!

      • Baron Von Marlon said

        The equalisation ranges from UTSSU paying close to $3000 to WA receiving almost $5000. Having no Sydney or Melbourne round (not including finals; the equlaisation model doesn;t take into account finals) is just silly . Replacing the two cheapest cities for most teams to travel to with the most expensive, makes the whole comp so much more expensive for each club. And of course, this means a fair whack of the costs will be passed onto the players, as I doubt there are many clubs with a spare 25 grand to pay for all of MAVL… or 50 grand if the club has both men and women.

      • Edbinnie said

        yep that’s a fantastic $405 per match per team.

        the inclusions cover (based on past payments)
        $40 for first ref
        $20 for second ref
        $10 for scorer
        $5 for each line judge
        so $40 per team for referee fees for each game.

        the remaining $365 per match covers
        2 second hand balls (per round) – $80 each brand new, so $16 per team per game (although these are sponsor product, so the AVF gets them for free, and is REQUIRED to use them).
        medals etc (lets assume its the standard AVF square medal – so $5 for 3 teams for 16 (max) people. so $180 total, or $3 per team per game.

        Let’s be honest, the remainder of the “inclusions” have absolutely no impact what so ever on the teams involved. Nor the crowd. Nor really anyone else. For all bar 1 or 2 games per round, there are more players in the area warming up and cooling down than people in the crowd. So the cost of the marketing material is somewhat pointless (be in online, or print)
        As Steve said, no one cares except for those directly involved.

        I wish it were not the case, but sadly, my 6 years of involvement proves otherwise. I have never minded that the cost for something is higher than the direct expense, but why draw so much attention to the fact that all these things covered are “surplus” to requirements.

  4. nondescriptvball said

    i’ve played AVL for the last 4 years and these are my thoughts,
    the AVL format is not great, it would be better if it was spread out over more days 3 perhaps, my ideal suggestion is the formet they want is a double round robin, why not have 2 rounds + finals so 2 week long tournaments August septembr/ and then on in november to finalize finals, i have thought about this long and it would mean less mucking around in terms of team costs I.e less travel expense, and also it would also give the city/town its in time to be able to go watch matches it might give the Associations more time to publicise/market the rounds. i could go on forever lol

    any way as far as i am concerned something needs to change,

    also i have never been to a round where i have seen “bumper crowds” except at the finals i mean i dont think AVF does enough to support the AVF and publicising it.
    and in regards to costs i have payed as much at $1600 for a 4 round AVL season and as little as $1000, i cant vouch for other clubs/teams/association’s but thats what i have paid,

    • nondescriptvball said

      forgive the typo’s

    • Steve said

      I agree, though far beter would be to simply go back to a national championships with state teams for one week. Taking two weeks off work will be tough for a lot of people. As for crowds, we used to got great crowds at the night sessions of ’98 national championships and on the weekends for the finals. I also remember a good (and very drunk!) crowd at the ’96 championships in Cairns.

      Fact is no one cares about AVL, men’s or women’s, except for participants because no one feels any ownership over the teams. People do feel passion about state teams though … this should be leveraged but it isn’t … and AVL killed it.

  5. keen spectator said

    Another chook raffle buggered up.

  6. Toddy said

    So having been involved in AVL in various ways over the last 6 years this seems to be getting even worse than it has been the last couple of years. Last years AVL had an overall cost something like 3 times as much as the amount spent on the 2003 season by Sydney Uni (and for this I am including player costs and finals, not just entries) and we are only paying for half of the costs that we were then (having formed UTSSU) and we played more games. While it is expected that there is an increase each year, this seems more like there are issues with the structure and logistics.

    I have been involved enough to know that there are a lot of unavoidable costs, but it just doesnt make sense having teams travel to Perth when they dont play a game against WA. And to put a round on when Masters Games in on, again, illogical.

    But whats done is done, and it seems as though this year the 6 teams playing will just have to suffer the costs and try the fight again next year to improve the competition.

    I’m wondering what suggestions people might have about other formats for AVL. Everyone seems to be for the home & away system, and occasionally people would like a week long tournament, and then there is Gand Prix as we have been doing, but how about something else? I have recently been thinking that it might be good to have a weekend tournament for 4 teams (such as our current finals series)whereby there are a number of preliminary tournaments to gain entry. Think of it in the style of the masters cup that tennis has with the winners of each of the grand slams and one or two highest ranked others attend

    A tournament hosted in a few of the different states and the winner getting through to the finals series might utlise existing tournaments such as good neighbour and vic champs or even arafura games and if a team wins a tournament they are through to the finals series. We could have a points rating or soemthing of the sort for different tournaments through the year to entice clubs to enter. It would promote each of the rounds better in my opinion as it would allow more teams to be involved. Granted it might not see the strongest teams through to the finals, but I dont think we have really had that happen fopr the last few years anyway, with the number of top quality volleyballers pushed out of AVL due to the pricetag.

    Anywa, i’m sure there are a few other ideas that arent just the same suggestions that everyone already agrees or disagrees with and I know I personally would love to hear them.

    • Steve said

      This kind of already exists … Good Neighbour historically was viewed as the national club championships and there is no reason why it can’t serve that purposes still. Entry to the Honours Division should be limited to the 6 state league champions (excluding Tas and NT where the competitions aren’t strong enough) and then open to runners up if additional teams are needed due to no-shows (you don’t want more than 6 teams … two pools of three, two pool games, cross over semis, finals over two days plus Friday night is plenty).

      Separate to the club competition have a national seniors again, held at a separate time of year. If a big enough venue can be found (MSAC for example) then hold it with the juniors, otherwise hold it before the state league seasons kick off. In an ideal world it could be held at a time when the guys overseas could play as well, though logistically and from an insurance standpoint that could be tough to achieve.

  7. Iremember said

    I think Ed is right on the money with his comments. However, on one point, in a perfect world it is important to recognise that WA has a right to have an AVL round for it’s membership. I know it is expensive and the money could be better used to reduce costs but the players and spectators in WA should get the chance to see their own team play. If no one ever turns up to watch then get rid of it…
    As someone who comes from the days where we had National Seniors I say…bring it back.
    It also does seem a bit strange having a round when World Masters is on. A lot of older players ( now officials) would probably rather be playing in them than going to AVL….
    With the AVL finals happening on the first day of AVSC it would be good if the AVL had its after presentation drink festival in another location away from hundred of schoolkids and their poor teachers who have to look after them for the week….great role modelling when all the kids can see the AVL players through the glass birdcage slowing quickly drinking themselves into oblivion.

    • Eldo said

      As a coach of school teams it would not worry me a bit if the AVL distanced themselves away from the ASC event. AVL finals should be played in from of the top ranked teams fans, not a group of kids who are not real interested. They are there for their event, not the AVL. The current notion is a rent a crowd at its best. A few years ago I had to spend time making excuses for the AVL duty teams when they we so bad doing the grand final. Let the AVL stand on its own 2 feet. If you put the men and women back together you can bet it can do it.

  8. edbinnie said

    Iremember – I definitely agree with you that WA should get a chance to host, and to be honest, this has always been one of my favourite away trips.
    If you move away from these grand prix rounds, then you can have a couple of teams visit (not all 5, maybe 2 teams) and have a tri series – everyone gets 2 games, the crowd gets better volleyball, with more focused interest on those 3 games.

    Eldo – I always thought it was great having the huge crowd, but in hindsight, I think you are right on the money. Most of the crowd at the AVL finals are AVSC kids who are dumped there and told not to move, so the coaches can get an hour or 2 break. Lots aren’t interested, and as I said above I have heard far too many times “is that it?” is that the best we have?

    I may be a little biased, but I thought the crowd at the 2007 WAVL finals in Sydney was far more engaged. Yes there were only about 500 people there (maybe less), but they all paid their $5 to get in, and they were focused entirely on the matches. I think that’s a much better result than what we currently have. We’ve had similar crowds in a few of the smaller venues, and they were great atmospheres – in Adelaide at Westminster (I think it was), Melbourne at Melbourne Uni Gym etc. 200 to 400 people that were there just for 1 or two games in 2006 and 2007 (I wasn’t at all rounds in 2006 prior, and didn’t see any 2008 or 2009 – I’m sure there have been plenty of good events since!).

    The thing about all these tournaments, National Seniors, AVL, and a National Club Championships, I believe that there is a place for all of them, and they cater slightly differently, and offer different opportunities.
    National Club Champs as an extension of state league – a 5 or 6 team comp over 3 or 4 days.
    Hey why not put it on the October long weekend? Hosted by the previous year’s winning state? and allow 2 or 3 additional players from a different club to cover for “inavailability”, but otherwise the lineup must match that of the state league final. Maybe even have the trip for free – cover travel and accommodation by state league fees? would require all states to sign off, but very doable.
    National Seniors? a week long tournament for 8 or 9 teams should be pretty easy to do. You do have to find time in the calendar, but there’s a little thing called Masters which seems to do just fine on the Easter Long weekend. Why not have an open division? Or just do a stand alone competition.
    AVL as a home and away 1 to 2 teams per state, not clashing with state leagues (or other national events).

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