Runners could be made a thing of the past and the number of rotations significantly lessened in an effort to de-coach the game. This comes as one of the several proposals being considered for changes in the AFL.
Removing runners from the ground, or even putting a cap on the number of times they can spread a message to players, is one of the numerous proposals on the agenda for the game committee.
This ruling could combine with a drop in the number of interchange rotations to help stem the flow of players carrying on coaching messages to teammates.
These suggestions come in light of the AFL striving to return to the game to a contest that is based more on instinct and intuition rather than instruction from coaching staff.
The AFL has not yet settled on this change, but has started trying to narrow the list of options they have for any potential changes to the game.
“Runners is one of a host of things we are looking at. When you think how do you empower the players to be more instinctive and the games less predictable?” AFL football manager Steve Hocking told The Age.
“We don’t know where it is going to land as yet. Runners, coaching, structures those things are consideration.”
Clubs consider a change in their runners to be one of most likely and simpler changes to implement for the AFL. It is widely considered less intrusive or dramatic than other proposed changes or rule departures, such as zoning or strict positioning at stoppages.
Hocking said the AFL has been clear in its goal to de-congest the game, make it more free-flowing and to ultimately increase scoring.
“One of the benefits of de-cluttering the game hopefully is high scoring. Opening up the game creating more skill level from players, more passages of play, faster ball movement and then more scoring” he said.
He claims the AFL was not wanting to turn back the clock and help take the game back to how it was played in a certain decade. He said they were attempting to guide progression to fit with the game’s essence so any change will consider the heritage of the game, the progression of the game and the AFL’s charter which enshrines certain fundamentals of the game in the rules.