Cast your mind back around 15 years ago... a time when AFL was simple Aussie Rules Footy. It was aerial ping pong, great high flying marks and forwards kick bags of ten, footy that everyone enjoyed watching. Since then, the coaches have stepped up a level, exploiting the ground and number of players and employing tactics that were directed towards ensuring eventual victory.
The game began to morph and changes. From Paul Roos’ Sydney swarm to the beautiful run and carry game-play endorsed by the Geelong Cats under Bomber Thompson, the 'style' of a teams footy became important, even crucial to success. Differing styles changed naturally though as coaches sussed out game plans of opposition teams and worked towards their own unique brand that suited their list and provided them with the template to win.
Then the AFL decided they had to step in.
Now every year, come seasons end, there are a raft of sweeping changes proposed and then implemented by the AFL trying to reconfigure the game to the 1980’s aerial contest that the games traditionalists continue to bleat and yearn for.
First point, if I were to ask you what the best kind of football is, I promise you majority of spectators would say FINALS FOOTY, which is famously highly contested footy with higher stakes for victory. No matter how games play out in the regular season come September the fixtures arrive at the form of footy we know and salivate over.
Yet, the AFL still continue to tinker with the rules.
I’d hate to be an auskicker, a youngster trying to learn the game grappling with the rules. For me it was one game, a simple one, until I was a teenager. Today young footballers have to learn and adapt to a new set of instructions each season!
You know what though? I have learnt a long time ago that if you can’t beat them join them. So, I have decided to propose a handful or new rules to help the AFL out. I want to jump on the front foot and provide enough time for the officials at the top to consider my suggestions that aim to spread the players, provide more screaming marks and higher scores.
- Two footies on the field – this seems obvious to me. The AFL wants more goals, and the only way to kick more goals is through the usage of inflated leather passing through big, white sticks. So, increase the number of balls and there will be more goals and a higher score. A second ball means double the goals and IMAGINE the ball-up at the start of a match, the carnage and confusion as the rucks decide which ball to go for! Fun!
- Coaches to be allowed to enter the field in the runner’s role – the AFL elite are sceptical of the position of the runner. They say the runners are coaching on-field and at times dawdling on the way back to the interchange, taking up space. Replace the runners with the coaches and allow them to coach… but also allow the other opposing coach to tackle or block them as they try deliver their message. In fact, let assistant coaches be able to block the head boss. Adds another element to the game!
- There is a constant complaint that there aren’t enough high marks and screamers taken. Allow two players per team to use pogo sticks around the ground. Let those players use their devices to launch into the air and take speckies! Spectacular! Surrounding players will have to be weary though of flying metal as the certain players lift off into the atmosphere.
- Probably the most important rule of all, and the one I endorse the most, is the one that ensures one on one contests around the ground. Each player has to be attached by a 3 m rope to their opponent with a rope. Keeping opposing players close to each other means constant pressure, where elite players will be able to show off their skills under duress. The rope keeps players within vicinity of one another meaning more one on one marking contests and tackles and more space around the ground as players dropping back to help the defence will be impossible… they will only bring their opponent with them.
I wait with excitement for the AFL’s response