The most important question about AFLX remains unanswered: Why bother?

Ryan Buckland Columnist

By Ryan Buckland, Ryan Buckland is a Roar Expert

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    In case you missed it, the AFL joins the global trend of sporting leagues experimenting with their chosen sports tomorrow. Unlike other sports, the AFL hasn’t articulated a compelling case for it.

    Buyer beware, AFLX has all the hallmarks of a Stratton Oakmont pump and dump.

    A glitzy launch? Yep. The league bought in a pair of acrobats, a ‘Zooper Girl’ and man dressed as a Sherrin to its official launch at Etihad Stadium last Tuesday.

    It also introduced ‘Zooper goals’ (ten points are awarded if a goal is kicked on the full from beyond 40 metres), zing goal posts, and a silver ball that is totally not a rip off of a 1992 Coca-Cola commercial.

    Gaudy projections of growth and adoption? Yep. The AFL is already talking up the internationalisation of AFLX, despite not yet playing the game with professional athletes at home. It also thinks the game will be a hit in the western suburbs of Sydney for some reason.

    A sponsor with a single-minded objective to expand its empire, some may say at the neglect of what has come before? Yep. Football in Tasmania is really struggling, and according to Western Bulldogs club president Peter Gordon, the AFL has redirected funds that were available for last year’s AFLW competition to the venture.

    Gil McLachlan isn’t Jordan Belfort. There are genuine reasons for the league to pursue an alternative version of the domestic code. The problem is it’s not clear which one the AFL has at the core of its new project.

    That could doom the game before the first silver ball is tossed into the air.

    All in the timing
    Let’s get one thing straight at the outset: this is a horrendous time for the AFL to unveil its new-look game.

    Of all the times on the calendar that were available – say, from the end of August through to the week before Richmond takes on Carlton in Round 1 – a three-day sojourn as the pre-season ramps up and right in the middle of the AFLW season is among the worst of the options.

    It robs the AFLW of a marquee Friday night spot in its third round, funnily enough the first of the season where it would not be competing with cricket for viewer eyeballs. The competition has been under pressure in its first two rounds, and may simply fade into the tapestry this weekend as AFLX comes to pass.

    The last game of the first evening begins just after 9pm local time, on a school night in the City of Churches. Beginning on a Thursday night may rob the tournament opener of a significant crowd, hurting the atmosphere HQ is so keen to generate.

    There’s been little by way of information about projected crowd, but at the time of filing I could still purchase a tranche of ten tickets to Hindmarsh Stadium without any issues.

    AFL club members were also forwarded an offer from AFL House on Monday afternoon, with $10 tickets to the three events available.

    Most critical though is the fact AFLX is happening just six weeks from the AFL season proper.

    AFLX has replaced one of the usual preseason competition games for each team, a development which is more likely to signal a move to two organised preseason games for each team than the advent of a new way to kick off the season. Most clubs have suggested two actual practice games is plenty in recent times – one to play the younger guys, and another to roll out a stronger line up. In that respect, AFLX is unlikely to be hugely disruptive.

    The Roar got in touch with four club officials in high performance, list management and opposition analysis roles over the past few weeks, to talk on background about how their club was approaching the tournament. Most echoed this view, giving a sense that AFLX won’t change a lot by way of preseason programs.

    The clubs appear to be looking at AFLX through a lens of what they can get out of it, acknowledging that it’s happening whether they are enthused or not.

    Staff mentioned it was a good opportunity for testing out player skills, their decision making, and one-on-one game. Others would be using it mostly to scout opposition players they haven’t seen before.

    However, there was an overwhelming sense of apathy. Of ‘why now’. The personnel I spoke to were also worried about the potential for injury, but more specifically about the kind of load the league was putting on players six weeks out from the season, relative to a regular preseason campaign.

    Is it any wonder then that the West Coast Eagles named a team with an average of six AFL games played? Or that Nat Fyfe pulled out faster than a snowboarder that felt a gust of wind in South Korea once he saw what his competitors were doing? Or that the clubs successfully lobbied the AFL to increase squad sizes from an initial 10 to 14 and finally to 20?

    nat-fyfe-fremantle-dockers-afl-2017

    AAP Image/Julian Smith

    It’s all in the timing. And like the rest of the tournament, it seems the AFL’s rationale isn’t why now, but why not now.

    Some colour and shape was first given in the second half of last season, when Crocmedia’s Damien Barrett revealed the league was looking to hold the tournament in the middle of the pre-finals bye week. It would have (appropriately) involved ten teams, and been played with the best of the also-rans of last season.

    That didn’t come to pass, with too little time from leak to planned debut. It seems a more appropriate spot on the calendar than at the pointy end of the preseason.

    In future, expect AFLX to be a fixture in the AFL’s calendar, played as a means of ending the football year in December. This weekend’s experiment will be a one off.

    For now, we play tomorrow.

    The nuts and bolts
    What can we expect to see? According to AFL House, a 342 per cent increase in scoring, if scoring is scaled to the game time available.

    Based on the average game length and points scored from last year, that would suggest the average AFLX score will be 49 to 50 points a side – or 100 points in total.

    All things being equal, that score will take 14-15 shots to achieve, excluding Zooper goals (which are likely to be a sizeable contributor to scoring), or 30 shots on goal in the whole game. That’s a lot of shots on goal in such a condensed amount of time, suggesting the early trials of the format have seen the ball travel from end to end, basketball style.

    Other reports have suggested there’s not a lot of tackling, and so many fewer stoppages. The club trial footage I’ve seen has backed up this expectation – I can’t remember seeing a slowdown in play at any stage in the West Coast Eagles’ AFLX trial game, for example.

    There will be plenty of kicking, particularly laterally in order to open up attacking lanes through the middle of the ground. Teams that roll out line ups chock full of quality kicks will be the most successful. On-the-ground pace will also be important, albeit less so as ball control is paramount. Teams will only move the ball forward with handballs when they create an overlap, or they are counterattacking from an opposition turnover.

    Turnovers will be one of the most critical statistics, if not the most critical. It is a different way to view the contested side of the game; winning the ball when it is in dispute is always going to be important, but avoiding putting the ball in dispute is even more critical.

    The geometry of the field will assert its influence on the playing style, too. A typical Australian football field is oval shaped, where AFLX is to be played on a rectangular pitch. This means there will be no points on the ground which are both narrower and wider than the average point on the ground – it’s straight lines all the way.

    It will be difficult for teams to create attacking angles with kicks that travel forwards, as there won’t be a lot of space on the ground to go both forwards and sideways at the same time.

    Grounds are also significantly smaller. The MCG has a surface area of 20,233 square metres in Australian rules football configuration, while most other grounds are around 16,500 square metres (Kardinia Park is a little different: 15,354 square metres). Documents produced by the AFL suggest a field of between 100 and 120 metres long and 60-70 metres wide: 6000 square metres in the smallest configuration to 8400 square metres in the largest.

    The game leans against this reduction in space by reducing the number of players on the field: 36 down to 14. The AFL has been keen to point out that the reduction is a key to quickening up the game. However, the number of square metres per player on the smallest configuration (100 x 60 metres) is 428.6 – less than all but Kardinia Park (426.5 square metres per player). Indeed, there is 31 per cent more space per player in an Australian rules game at the MCG than in the smallest AFLX configuration.

    As ABC’s James Coventry pointed out earlier this week, the last time Australian football was played on a rectangular field was when the game was at its most congested and scrappy – in the 1800s and early 1900s.

    It’s not clear what dimensions the AFL will select for these first games – albeit a ‘preferred measurement’ of 105 x 68 metres has popped up on a few pieces of promotional material. All three venues (Hindmarsh Stadium, Etihad Stadium and the Sydney Football Stadium) are capable of hosting the maximum playing field of 120 x 70 metres, which would yield exactly 600 square metres of space per player. One would assume the league will experiment with configurations.

    AFLX’s rules will also play a role in quickening the pace of play. The last-touch rule will incentivise players to play within a narrower version of what we’d consider to be the centre corridor, unless there is an opening in the defence. Players will run straight lines and have a bias for moving to the middle of the ground. No mark for kicking backwards may influence the play, but few kicks that travel backwards require a mark in today’s game.

    Finally, the 2-3-2 starting position configuration (two players from each team required to be inside each 40-metre arc) will mean a centre break at the start of each half will probably lead to a score. It’s not clear if the starting position configuration is a requirement after each goal (when the ball is returned via kick in), but it is assumed not to be the case.

    At face value, the pace of play will be as quick as the league has promised. Whether the scoring flows when fully professional footballers are in play, rather than the semi-professionals that have mostly trialled the game thus far, is an unknown and influential factor.

    The biggest question: why?
    As I write this, I must say, I am feeling equal parts excited, intrigued and sceptical.

    The public reaction has been less favourable. Social media is not an appropriate barometer, but if it was, the league would be dealing with a hurricane of negativity.

    Part of this is probably the usual anti-AFL cynicism, which I am guilty of indulging in too frequently. Part of it comes back to the timing. Part of it comes down to the way the league has marketed its new concept, neatly surmised in this missive.

    It comes back to the question we posed at the start of this article: why is the AFL doing this? Plenty of observations and assumptions have been offered across the media – by the AFL itself, and by the many analysts and writers who are curious about the concept.

    The AFL clearly has a lofty goal for the concept, given it is already talking about international AFLX competitions. That is apparently the motivation for the soccer ground configuration; the game can be played more readily in cities and countries which prefer the round-ball code. We saw this come to the fore when the AFL was looking for a ground to play its China game last year – an oval of requisite size and quality was like the Holy Grail.

    Closer to home, AFLX has been written up as the AFL’s answer to the ‘T20-fication’ of sport. That’s not quite right. A typical AFL game goes for just under three hours from start to finish – a similar time to each of the AFLX round robins slated for this weekend. It simply doesn’t face the same attention span challenge as longer form cricket. Instead, I prefer to see it as a rugby sevens approach to Australian football; carnival atmosphere, short games, a ‘victor’ at the end of play.

    But then, the AFL is layering on the ‘crowd engagement’ thicker than the powder at PyeongChang. There are the aforementioned acrobats and crowd performers, DJs, roaming on-ground MCs, and plenty more that is designed to… well I don’t really know. But, it will surely move the eyes of the punters at the ground away from the on-field action.

    Others have posited AFLX is about creating a game that is more ready for a digital audience; a smaller field with fewer players makes it easier to watch on small screens. That’s fine, but have you watched the way Channel Seven and Foxtel broadcast games now? It might as well be a soccer field.

    Is AFLX just an experiment by an administration with idle hands? Possibly. The AFL doesn’t like to be caught on the hop when it comes to global sporting trends – that alone is enough to prod them into action.

    Why. The why is important, particularly if the AFL really wants to make something of the concept. As time goes on, McLachlan and his executive will have to define this, articulate it to the fans, and prosecute it to their best. Otherwise, AFLX risks denting the reputation of the league in the eyes of its fans.

    For now though, I am ready and willing to give AFLX a chance. I am also very pleased the West Coast Eagles have sent a team of unknowns to Adelaide.

    Ryan Buckland
    Ryan Buckland

    As an economist, Ryan seeks to fix the world's economic troubles one graph at a time. As a sports fan, he's always looking one or two layers beneath the surface to search for meaning, on and off the field. You can follow Ryan here.

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    The Crowd Says (153)

    • February 14th 2018 @ 7:19am
      AR said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      Agree totally with this.

      The timing is seriously bad – with the AFLW still fledgling and the season proper about to start. *wince*

      Even more bizarre is the very *public* claim that this thing could go international.
      Puh-lease.
      The AFL are famous for putting zero $ into the international footprint of Australian Football, so the claim that AFLX may catch on (when it’s being promoted like a circus here) is a tad…optimistic.

      • February 14th 2018 @ 12:12pm
        Vocans said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        AFLW must start to feel like token now? AFL effectively puts up AFLX as competition to it.

    • Roar Guru

      February 14th 2018 @ 7:47am
      Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      I’ll reserve judgement on AFLX until I actually see some games played. Awful lot of people saying they hate it and its crap, yet no one has even seen a game of it played. Maybe it will be … maybe it won’t be.

      As for timing, what is the alternative? End of season? Yeah, there is absolutely zero chance of that. Before AFLW starts? Again, zero chance, no player would be in any shape to play games before having much if any preseason training.

    • February 14th 2018 @ 7:49am
      Christo the Daddyo said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      “Why bother?”
      Um, because it gets media attention – e.g. you’ve now written an article about it.

      The only thing I have an issue with is the choice of Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. If one of the characteristics of AFLX is the rectangular shape of the playing field, why on earth wouldn’t you hold it at AAMI Park? Suits the playing field much better and will have a more appropriate capacity for the crowd.

      • Roar Guru

        February 14th 2018 @ 8:25am
        Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        Cost. AFL own Etihad so in essence there are no ‘hire fees’ whilst AAMI would cost money to hire the ground. It’s not like Etihad has never hosted a rectangular game before.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 9:38am
          Christo the Daddyo said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          So cost trumps fan experience.

          Stupid.

          • Roar Guru

            February 14th 2018 @ 9:51am
            Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

            When you are putting on a concept game that could draw 5 people … yes. This isn’t a regular game where you can guesstimate the expected crowd. AFL is doing all they can to pump up the numbers by hyping it to heck but who knows, people may watch it this Thursday and decide it isn’t for them by the time the Melbourne tourny comes around.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 10:00am
          spruce moose said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          Cat,

          You really don’t get it do you?

          The point is to try and sell this on rectangle field. The TV visuals on a rectangle field are far superior to what they would be on Etihad. It’s worth spending the additional for ground rent.

          • Roar Guru

            February 14th 2018 @ 10:05am
            Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

            And it will be played on a rectangular field. It really makes no difference. The main test is to see how the game itself is played and whether it works. Who gives a rats backside about ‘viewing angles’ right now?

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:37am
              spruce moose said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              Who gives a hoot?

              Do you prefer going to watch football (soccer) at Etihad or at AAMI park? Do you prefer watching rugby league/rugby union at Etihad or AAMI?
              It’s common sense to put it in an arena that maximises the experience for the viewer – both live and on TV.
              Honestly, putting this game on at Etihad would be like an airline launching its international product with Dash 8’s instead of jets.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:44am
                Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

                If the concept doesn’t work it won’t matter what the very ancillary metrics regarding ‘visuals’ and ‘viewing angles’ are. If the concept works and people like it then the AFL can worry about polishing it up next time.
                You build a brand new race car you don’t send it to the paint shop to get a $20,000 paint job. First you take it out on the track and see how it performs before worrying about making it ‘pretty’.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:05am
                Christo the Daddyo said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:05am | ! Report

                The race car analogy isn’t accurate though. AFLX (like BBL) is as much about the visuals as the game itself.

                If the AFL is uncertain about the crowd, wouldn’t you rather the game be played at a smaller capacity venue where the spectators are right on top of the action? If it sells out – great! The AFL can then use that fact for marketing purposes. If it doesn’t then you’ve still maximised the experience for the people who did turn up. Holding it at AAMI Park would have also helped reinforce the difference between AFLX and ‘regular’ aussie rules football.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:20am
                spruce moose said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

                @ Cat

                Firstly, If you don’t have confidence in a concept, then they shouldn’t launch it full stop. T20 cricket wasn’t launched in Australia as if they tried to hide it. The first game was held at a proper cricket ground, with proper teams and got a sell out.

                Secondly, as CoD said your race car analogy is inaccurate. It’s not just that, it’s flatly wrong. ALL racing teams launch their cars with glitz, glamour and a shiny paint job every year BEFORE they go and test it. Every single one. Launch first, get the people excited, then go and test. Not test first, plummet expectations and then salvage later in the season.

                It’s not hard Cat. Give the people the best chance to enjoy the product. Holding it at Etihad (a stadium that’s also more annoying to get to than AAMI park) is not the best chance.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 11:24am
                AdelaideDocker said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

                You guys do realise that the game at Etihad is the only one of the three that isn’t being held at a rectangular stadium. They’ve got games at Hindmarsh and Allianz Stadium, so there’s more than enough opportunity to judge the game at rectangular stadiums.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 11:27am
                Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

                ALL racing teams launch their cars with glitz, glamour and a shiny paint job every year BEFORE they go and test it. Every single one. Launch first, get the people excited, then go and test. Not test first, plummet expectations and then salvage later in the season.

                You are wrong. I have actually built a couple race cars. I know for a fact the owners of those cars took it to the track an ‘dialed in’ the performance long before they ever spent money to make it look pretty.
                This is how Peter Kapiris ran his new ‘Batmobile’ for almost a year http://cdn.dragzine.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/2/files/2010/08/Newcar2.jpg before he had it dialed in and got it done up right http://dragnews.com.au/images/stories/EventGallery/2010/20101204goldenstates/IMG_4188.JPG

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:45am
                spruce moose said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

                Sorry Cat,

                I meant in racing events people actually care about.

                That’s not in any way meant to devalue your passion and hobby for drag racing, but that just isn’t in the same league as V8’s and F1’s here. The fact that you had to link to specific drag racing magazines reinforces my point. V8’s and F1 launches generally make the mainstream papers here.

                Privateers do need to be more circumspect with the money, so what you do is the right thing. The AFL on the other hand has money to burn and should be able to do this right from the beginning.

                @ AD

                Yes, but it doesn’t make it any less stupid to not use AAMI park. AAMI park is arguably the best rectangle stadium in the country, and provides a superb fan experience.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 11:50am
                Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

                You said ALL race teams. You capitalised ALL. You are wrong. Whether you watch ANDRA or NHRA or not is irrelevant. Top Door Slammer drag racing isn’t just some ‘hobby’. I could cite many other examples but I picked that one because of my first hand knowledge.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 12:26pm
                spruce moose said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

                Step back from the brink Gene.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 12:35pm
                Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                /eyeroll

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 12:42pm
                Rick Disnick said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                I have no idea why I’m bothering with this; however, you’re both right and both wrong.

                Race teams never release their cars to the public before testing… ever, end of discussion! In fact, most teams — particularly Formula 1′ teams (try sneaking onto Ferrari’s Fiorano test track) — are extremely protective of their designs for obvious reasons.

                The testing of road cars is no different from the top manufacturers. I’m eagerly awaiting the new M3 in 2019-2020. Already there have been pictures taken, but BMW camouflage their cars well to hide their design from the public and their competitors:

                https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj-ydPmoKTZAhWIG5QKHQRyBSUQjRx6BAgAEAY&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.carmagazine.co.uk%2Fspy-shots%2Fbmw%2Fnew-2020-bmw-m3-codenamed-g80-revealed%2F&psig=AOvVaw1Wk8sxHhyhGmbl8Pblun6Z&ust=1518658168302393

                Doesn’t look too glitzy now does it?

                However, once they’re happy with their testing, the best manufactors go big when they present their finished product to the public.

                Rule #1 in business: make sure your product is the best it can be before launch. First impressions are important — you might not get a second shot at it. Restaurants should always follow this rule.

                This isn’t a testing phase for the AFL. This is their finished product. Sure, it will evolve with time, like all cars throughout their generation, but they don’t alter significantly from the original concept and launch design.

                This is not an astute business decision from the AFL playing AFLX at Etihad in my opinion. It’s just poor from an organisation that should know better. Saving a few bucks because they own the joint is very short-sighted indeed.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 12:49pm
                AdelaideDocker said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                Rick’s right. It would be insanely stupid to release a car to the public before beginning testing it. Also, off topic, but damn that M3 is going to look good. Very good. I absolutely love the current one, Rick.

                Perhaps the should’ve gone to AAMI Stadium, but honestly I don’t think it’s that big a deal. You’ve got games at Hindmarsh and Allianz Stadium, plus Etihad can be converted into a rectangular field fairly easily from memory.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 12:58pm
                Rick Disnick said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                Well, I’m one of the biggest M3 fans you’ll ever meet. However, this is what it’s going to be up against:

                That’s not even Mercedes AMG version.

                Just stunning — I love the rivalry between BMW and Mercedes. They just know how to make great cars.

                If the new M3 doesn’t stack up, I’ll be trading my M3 for one of these puppies. 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 1:02pm
                AdelaideDocker said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                Rick, this was today’s news:

                http://www.caradvice.com.au/622010/2018-mercedes-benz-c-class-revealed-here-in-q3/?source=carousel&slot=0

                I vehemently dislike most Mercs, though. For no discernible reason, I just despise them. Gimme an Audi or a Bimmer, any day.

                Linking this talk back to footy, though: the car that I currently drive is by the brand which sponsors North Melbourne. Good car, that one.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 1:11pm
                Rick Disnick said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

                ‘Bimmer’ — you have passed your first test. A true fan indeed. 🙂

                Don’t mind Audi’s (my wife loves them) either. My wife’s beast whips my poor little M3 though, but nothing has the character of the original 80’s M3. Would love to get my hands on one in mint condition.

                The merc you linked is just a refresh. Most manufactures do this every 1-2 years — change the lights slighty, interior etc. but their new design will come in 2019-2020 most likely.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 1:25pm
                AdelaideDocker said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                Eh, I know a surprising amount about cars! I could talk about them literally the entire day. I won’t, though: don’t want to derail the forum.

                Good chat today, though!

              • February 16th 2018 @ 12:04am
                Midfielder said | February 16th 2018 @ 12:04am | ! Report

                but then again

      • Roar Guru

        February 14th 2018 @ 12:55pm
        mds1970 said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        The boundaries at Etihad are retractable. I believe they’re bringing them into the rectangular configuration for AFLX.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 2:16pm
          Christo the Daddyo said | February 14th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

          Meh…the venue still doesn’t make sense to me.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 14th 2018 @ 9:40pm
        Mick Jeffrey said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:40pm | ! Report

        There’s a Rugby League game going on at the same time which will hold more media attention and perhaps may get a bigger crowd.

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 10:51pm
          Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:51pm | ! Report

          One would hope the NRL could outperform a preseason concept game … if they can’t that’s very sad indeed.

    • February 14th 2018 @ 8:27am
      I ate pies said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Let’s face it, AFLX is AFL 9’s rebranded. It’s a crap concept that aims to solve a problem that isn’t there. Aussie rules will never be a viable sport outside Australia and I wish the AFL would stop wasting money on ‘international expansion’.
      AFLX is terrible on every level. The only good thing is that it gets the god awful women’s footy off the TV for a while and shifts the focus of the media to the teams that matter.
      Bring on the real stuff.

      • February 14th 2018 @ 10:34am
        Aligee said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

        I would agree that AFLX is rebranded from a concept that has been around long before some big fancy words were written on a whiteboard down in war room AFL headquarters, but i would disagree 100% that it doesn’t solve non existent problems.

        AFLX can solve demographic and space problems in 2 areas that are actually the polar opposites of each other.

        Demographic change in rural Australia and space shortage in our big cities, AFLX can provide an answer to both.

        I also think that maybe like the AFL that 9 aside football has a far more realistic chance of taking off outside this country than 18 a side etc.

        I have actually been calling for smaller sided football for quite a number of years and when asked have provided on end of season questionnaires etc etc.

        Lets see how the weekend turns out before making a decision on it.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 11:03am
          I ate pies said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          Every town in Australia has a cricket ground. There will always be somewhere to play footy.

          • February 14th 2018 @ 12:40pm
            Aligee said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

            And many are far smaller North of the Murrambidgee than south size wise, many country ovals in the south were expanded in size up to 150 years ago to cater for football, didn’t happen North.

            What’s more demographic change in some rural areas sees clubs scratching together 25 man squads every weekend let alone reserves and colts, AFLX or 9’s (whatever) can have a positive impact here.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 12:58pm
              I ate pies said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

              The ones I’ve seen are plenty big enough.
              The lack of players is a far bigger concern, and should be for the AFL, but it’s not, because the core base doesn’t matter to the AFL. Playing a hybrid game actually detracts from the proper game – particularly kicking skills, where players only do short kicks. There’s also the tactical differences.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 5:50pm
                Aligee said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

                Not even the SCG was big enough, let alone plenty of ones In Sydney suburbia or the bush, have a look at cricket grounds in the UK and elsewhere.

                You post actually backs up my point that shrinking demos in the bush in particular will probably benefit from AFLX.

                Even Collingwoods Vic Park which was put aside in the 1870’s for recreation was extended in the 1970’s because it was to small.

      • Roar Guru

        February 14th 2018 @ 10:41am
        Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        AFLX is terrible on every level.

        Based on your ZERO experience with it, right?

        • February 14th 2018 @ 11:03am
          I ate pies said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          Based on your need to reply to every single post on this forum.

          • February 14th 2018 @ 11:42am
            Christo the Daddyo said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

            You know that’s the whole point of this website don’t you?

            • February 14th 2018 @ 12:05pm
              mattyb said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

              Christo,I’m not sure the idea of a website is to have individual posters reply to every single post. It just means you end up hearing the same argument from a person in between everything else.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 12:51pm
                AdelaideDocker said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                Well, you’re right. The idea of a forum isn’t to have individuals reply to everything. But, on the contrary, there isn’t anything stopping people replying to a lot of posts.

                Honestly, does it really matter?

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 3:06pm
                Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

                It beats having the same poster making every topic about the ‘huge/massive/gigantic/enormous advantage’ the GF is on the MCG that despite having inserted it into a few hundred topics, said poster still has not provided any evidence of the so called advantage.

          • Roar Guru

            February 14th 2018 @ 12:36pm
            Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

            There’s a whole lot of stupid that needs correcting around here.

    • February 14th 2018 @ 8:33am
      morebeer said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      Because the nuggets at AFL HQ want to fill every last nook and cranny of the media space with anything even remotely connected with the game.

      Ever heard of saturation fatigue.

      • February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am
        I ate pies said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        Yep, and I’ve got it.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 10:40am
          Mattician6x6 said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          But IAP it’s your game as you fondly state ad nauseum, so how can you the great torch bearer be fatigued?

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 10:46am
          Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          Fatiguing to carry that chip around on your shoulder all the time isn’t it?

          Me, I need more footy. Can’t wait for the season to start. Can’t get here fast enough.

          • Roar Guru

            February 14th 2018 @ 10:54am
            AdelaideDocker said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

            I quite like the fact that the American who’s been in Australia for less time then I’ve been living is much more excited for footy than ihp, who I presume is an Australian who has been ‘watching’ footy for decades.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 11:08am
              I ate pies said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

              I’ve been playing footy for decades; it doesn’t mean I don’t get sick of it. I love cricket just as much and look forward to the cricket season just as much as the footy season.
              I only put up with you people on here because it gives me a break from work. I don’t really care about any of your opinions nor am I particularly interested in debating the intricacies of something that’s just a bit of fun at the end of the day. I do think that the opinions on this website don’t represent those of the bulk of footy supporters, but I won’t go into that.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:53am
                Mattician6x6 said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

                Oh grand torch bearer how enlightened I’ve just become.
                Not only are you the keeper of the the Aussie rules keys you are also privvy to the opinions of the majority.
                I stand in awe at your awesome awesomeness much like I did with Jake stringer.
                The fact you come and grace our lives with your omnipotence and all important time is well a honour of the highest order.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 1:01pm
                I ate pies said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                Your sarcasm is quite childish.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 3:02pm
                Mattician6x6 said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                Matter of opinion.
                Fact you need to pedastool yourself like a Disney princess is not only childish but churlish and arrogant.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 3:52pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                lol “fun”????!!!! Wow, I’ve never heard someone sound so miserable going about something’s that “a bit fun”. You aren’t the Sandman are you?

            • February 14th 2018 @ 11:19am
              truetigerfan said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

              Too many pies?

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 3:55pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

                😀 Certainly seems to have no shortage of acid in his stomach.

            • Roar Guru

              February 14th 2018 @ 12:09pm
              Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

              Coming from the states where I was invested in watching:

              NFL (Sept – Jan)
              MLB (Mar – Oct)
              NHL (Oct – May)
              NASCAR (Feb – Oct).

              I had a calendar full of sports, without including Tennis, Golf, UFC and the occasional NBA game.

              In Australia I have AFL (Mar – Sept) and the occasional NRL game (Mar – Sept) and a large ‘off season’ with nothing that interests me locally.

              Some people may ‘burn out’ but I grew up with and am used to sports 24/7/365, I struggle to adjust to months with none.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 12:16pm
                AdelaideDocker said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                Yeah, I can see why the adjustment would be hard. You still try and follow those sports, yeah? I know you’re from NY – I’m guessing you were fans of the NY teams in all those sports?

                Random questions, probably, but I’m just curious!

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 12:48pm
                Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                Yes, I try, but the access to watch it live here is much harder (or at least astronomically more expensive) and that isn’t taking into account the time difference. For example, most NFL games are on Sunday 1pm or 4pm EST start in NY (yes, that is where I am from originally) which means its a Monday morning game here. Bit harder to find the time.

                My teams:
                NFL: NY Giants
                NHL: NY Rangers
                MLB: NY Mets
                NBA: NY Knicks

                In NY I had direcTV (satellite tv) which gave me ~48 different sports channels. I could watch every single NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA game live (if I had the time and desire) all for $89/mo (that included ~230 non-sports channels, ~40 movie channels [HBO, Showtime, Cinemax etc] and 4 HD DVR’s to watch in 4 different rooms at no additional cost)

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 12:55pm
                AdelaideDocker said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

                Well, the US has a lot of flaws, but the abundance and availability of sports and sporting channels sure ain’t one of them!

              • February 14th 2018 @ 2:32pm
                spruce moose said | February 14th 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

                AD (and Cat)

                We have an abundance of sport here. It’s not Cat’s fault that he doesn’t like cricket or soccer, but that is certainly able to occupy the minds of others who need 12 months of sport here. You can add the spring carnival to the mix here.

                We are very much like the US when it comes to wall to wall sport here. In fact, we probably have too much on considering we are 1/14th the size of the sepps.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 3:03pm
                Cat said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

                US has soccer and horse racing too, I just don’t care about them in any country. Fact is the US major sports cover more of the year and give sports fans multiple choices at any time of the year. Aussie sport major sports leagues do not have the same coverage.

    • February 14th 2018 @ 8:57am
      Pope Paul VII said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      Right on Buckers. Better not be injuries. Good opportunity to give some promising kiddies a run though. North have a speedster named Gordon Narrier who looks good.

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