AFL football will become unrecognisable if the league continues to tinker with the rules, North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has warned.
Scott said on Tuesday the entire premise on which new interchange rules were being trialled in the pre-season Cup was wrong.
But, if they were introduced into the season proper, teams would adapt – and continue to adapt with each new modification until the face of Australian Rules had changed completely, he said.
“If we make rule changes every time there’s an evolution in the game we’ll just end up chasing our tail and my great fear is the game becomes unrecognisable,” Scott said.
“I would prefer to let things go the way they are and let the game evolve naturally.”
A cap on interchanges to 80 a game is being tested in the pre-season competition which will feature three interchange players and three substitutes.
The situation will revert to the normal quota of three interchanges and one substitute player in the premiership season.
The AFL argues that the trial system will help prevent injuries and improve the look of the game, reducing the stream of players running on and off the ground as they play in short bursts.
“In terms of the trialling of the caps on substitutions and all these things, I’m concerned a little bit that the premise is incorrect in the first place,” Scott said.
“I’m not sure we should be trying to tire players out to try and reduce congestion.”
“If players are tired and we cap rotations and we fatigue players, we’ll just adapt. We’ll just change the game again,” he said.
“If our players are really tired and we’re getting scored against and there’s less congestion, we’re likely just to put 16 players behind the ball to stop us being scored against,” he said.