Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has launched a passionate plea to keep runners, worrying that scrapping them would cause a "significant change" to the game at all levels.
Remarkably, Beveridge finished his press conference at Whitten Oval on Saturday, but returned and called the media back to field the question about runners.
He was passionate about the need to retain them.
"I don't want to be too controversial in regards to (the Nick Maxwell story)," he said.
"When we think about our game, on a very, very big arena, and there's no stoppages. I mean, there's stoppages but the game doesn't stop," he said.
"You need to get messages to your players, how do you get them if you haven't got a runner? How are we going to get it?
"We have to have runners. For any coach to say that I don't mind or I don't care or let's get them off the ground...from a coaching perspective I need to message players.
"I can't wait until the end of the quarter. For strategy, you need runners."
Beveridge hit back at a question the players were rotated enough to receive messages.
"How do you get them off (in the first place) if you want to talk to them?" he said.
Beveridge also worried the loss of runners would affect the game at the lower levels.
"The big problem is too, when you think about the junior level as well, if we don't have runners at AFL level, do you then say to the under-15s at St Peters East Bentleigh, you can't have a runner," he said.
"Kids need direction."