Marcus Bontempelli of the Bulldogs (L) Jordan Roughead and Tom Boyd celebrates the win after the final siren during the 2016 AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 1, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images)

AFLPA fuming over lack of second bye in 2017 fixture

The AFL Players Association is not impressed with the league, with next year’s fixture most likely set to feature only one in-season bye.

The AFL announced last week that the controversial post Round 23 bye will remain in 2017, decreasing the likelihood of a second bye during the home and away season, which the AFLPA had long campaigned for.

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“We acknowledge that with the AFL’s decision to have a week off after round 23 next year, the return of two in-season byes in 2017 is unlikely,” AFLPA boss Paul Marsh said.

“Should this eventuate, it would be an extremely unsatisfactory outcome for the players, who have stressed the importance of these rest periods given the demands of the modern game.

“Scheduling two in-season bye rounds in 2017 is achievable both from a logistics and timing perspective, even with the end of season break.

“It appears that in this instance the AFL has favoured unspecified and unproven commercial goals over a genuine player welfare issue.

“Two in-season byes will remain our primary fixture request as it’s the best structure for the players and, in our view, the game.”

The AFL released the Round 1 fixture for 2017 on the weekend, with the full fixture set to be announced on Thursday.

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