The AFL board has developed another modified form of Australian Rules, known as AFL X.
AFL X, the latest version of the code, will be adapted to be played on soccer field and each side will be only allowed seven players on the ground. Tackling and bumping will still be allowed in this version of the game.
The modified version of the game was developed to garnish greater interest in the sport overseas.
A trial game of AFL X occurred on the weekend between VFL players, with a key feature of the proposed game being four 10-minute-long quarters.
General manager of the AFL Simon Lethlean, described the game played on the weekend as been a “fast, high-intensity encounter which had left the VFL players involved exhausted”.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the AFL X concept which would hopefully attract non-football fans to the game and would also enable it to be taken to venues where football could not be normally played as there was no oval.
AFL X could also be the version of the game played over summer at a grass roots level, when cricket clubs have access to the local ovals.
The modified game could also be a key part of taking AFL abroad. Something which the AFL is working towards. With Port Adelaide signing a three-year partnership with leading Chinese property developer Shanghai Cred and St Kilda has also taken the game abroad, playing numerous games in New Zealand in previous years.
In the future, AFL X would be the easiest version to take abroad, as a result of the smaller numbers of players requires and the fact that only a soccer field is required, not a full size AFL ground.
The concept of modifying AFL to appeal to a greater audience is not new at all.
In recent years, AFL 9s has proven popular, attracting both men and women to the game, through there no tackle or bumping rule, allowing players to build on skills unique to AFL such as handballing, kicking and marking.
The fast and free flowing version of the game is played in the summer, with 21 competitions kicking off in Victoria this November, including in regional areas such as Geelong, Bendigo and Shepparton.
Modifications were also trialled on Saturday nights final women’s exhibition match between the Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs. Changes included only 16 players per field and a six-person strong bench, which as a result the game was fast-paced, easy flowing and minimal stoppages.
Other modifications for the exhibition match included a smaller ball and the last-touch out of out of bounds free kick.
While the AFL X game is not set to be introduced at professional level, the league is looking at other modifications to the current game.
A possible 16v16 game is being discussed, with 18v18 considered to result in too much congestion.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said he is for the idea of reducing the number of playing on the field.
‘We play 16v16 a lot (at training) and it changes the game’, Scott stated on Fox Footy.
‘So if the primary concern is reducing congestion, it is the simplest and probably the most effective method.’
Do you agree with these latest modifications of AFL X and 16 a side?