Premiership coach Malcolm Blight has revealed the seven rule changes he will put forward to AFL footy operations boss Steve Hocking for the 2019 season.
Blight was recently appointed to the AFL’s competition committee to review the look and future of the game, and the Brownlow Medalist has come up with the following ideas he would like to see implemented.
1. Kick 100+ points, get a bonus premiership point.
2. Increase the grip of the ball.
3. Interchange cap.
4. Extend goal square by 5-10 meters.
5. 16 players on field per side.
6. Last touch out of bounds turnover.
7. Starting points at centre bounces.
Some of the ideas are more radical than others, but each has its own merit. Gaining a premiership point for scoring over 100 points could promote more offensive, faster, exciting footy, compared to the defensive schemes which have taken over in recent times.
Increasing the grip of the ball is an interesting one that has never really been discussed, and Blight told Footy SA “the ball has been the same for 100 years, what if we put some sandpaper on it so the players can pick it up easier and quicker? Why not?”
Extending the goal square does not seem like it wold impact the game at all, but the idea is that it would launch teams into attack quicker when they are kicking in.
“Say the goal square was a little longer, every kick out from full back would be beyond centre and the opposition team would be in attack,” he said.
Playing 16-a-side is used in AFLW, while last touch out of bounds is also used in the women’s league, the SANFL and has been trailed in the AFL’s pre-season competitions. Both rules have generated a better brand of footy, creating more space, reducing congestion and speeding up the game.
Having starting points at centre bounces is the closest thing to zoning, without restricting players too much. “This is a key one. Six in the forward line, six in the midfield and six in defence. That’s your start at every bounce,” Blight said.