MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - AUGUST 31: AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan and AFL General Manager Football Operations Steven Hocking address the media after Steve Hocking was announced as the new AFL General Manager of Football Operations at AFL House on August 31, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)

AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking and AFLPA boss Paul Marsh have both thrown their support behind the idea of shutting down the AFL world for a period of time annually, to allow all involved to have a well deserved break. 

Marsh flagged a period in December for the potential break, citing the recent developments of AFLW and AFLX as making the game a year-round job at 100% throttle. 

Free agency and higher interest in player movement have also added to the demands and pressures of those in the AFL world. 

“Steve (Hocking) has talked to us about that, and floated the concept before Christmas,” Marsh told SEN’s Whateley.

“At a high level, the players are really open to that conversation. That might mean there has to be some flexibility given by the players around their historical leave period.

“There is no doubt there is a view from players and clubs, players are almost at a tipping point in terms of how much time they’re spending at football clubs.

“A break around that time of year would be really well received.

“It is a full on industry and it is seven days a week. The players get a reasonable break at the end of the season, but outside of that, it is high pressure and high intensity.

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“I think it could be good. Really importantly, the coaches and other football staff, they work very hard and don’t get the breaks players get.

“Even them getting a mental break would probably have a positive impact on the players as well.

“It is a good idea, it is just a matter of whether or not we can get all the stakeholders on board.”

While players receive a mandatory six weeks off at the conclusion of the season, club personnel usually have a two-week break over Christmas along with a shorter break at the end of the season. 

Hocking admitted there will be several challenges as the game only looks to expand its brand. 

“I think the way the world works is we are going at breakneck speed with most things we are doing,” he said.

“I’m a big of a fan of slowing down to quicken up. It is about understanding what that looks like over a season, and with AFLW, AFLX and the premiership season.

“The premiership season needs to respected because it is long held, an amazing competition and people just continue to connect with it.

“Then we have these two other formats as well, so what does a season look like and what does it mean for a player?

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“They’re the questions we are working through internally and we certainly have a team that is working on that.

“Players are used to being in competition from March until September, that’s the aim. Where does AFLX fit into that, and can you potentially have that going to other parts of the world?”