Down with the haters: AFLX will be fun!

mds1970 Roar Guru

By mds1970, mds1970 is a Roar Guru


57 Have your say

    Enough with the negativity! AFLX is here, I’m looking forward to it, and I think you’re going to love it.

    It promises to be the AFL’s equivalent of rugby sevens, promoting itself as non-stop action.

    Played on a rectangular ground, bringing the fans closer to the action than on a traditional oval, it’s played as ten-a-side, with seven on the field from each team at a time.

    There are ten-minute halves, and super goals worth 10 points if kicked from outside 40 metres.

    The AFL have gone all out to promote it – their gala launch featured skydivers and acrobats. On game day there’ll be DJs, fireworks and gimmicks galore as the players look to land Zooper goals.

    Regardless, the reaction online has been overwhelmingly negative:

    “Not real football,” they say, “it’s just meaningless hit and giggle.”

    “No need for this,” is the catchcry from many, “I want nothing to do with this circus.”

    “It’ll never take off,” many whinge, “doomed to failure.”

    But we don’t need a long sporting memory to have heard all this before.

    T20 cricket had a gimmicky opening, with nicknames on players’ shirts and Andrew Johns making a guest appearance for NSW.

    But from those modest beginnings, a new market for the game grew. Domestic cricket hadn’t drawn a crowd for 80 years but now the Big Bash takes over our summers with night after night of non-stop action.

    T20 cricket was a departure from tradition, but those who deride the franchises, the music, the fireworks and the gimmicks as not being real cricket overlook something important.

    It’s fun!

    So, will AFLX grow from humble beginnings to be a new dimension to our game? The possibility is there.

    T20 discovered a market for a family-friendly product over a short time-period, with affordable tickets, and a sense of fun.

    Just as the inventors of T20 would never have guessed that its place would be to breathe life back into domestic cricket, AFLX’s place in the footy landscape isn’t yet known.

    Maybe it will morph into a pre-season series over several weekends. Maybe it will become a mechanism to keep the likes of Brent Harvey and Stevie Johnson –
    who can no longer run out four quarters – in the game for longer.

    It could help the game spread internationally, as it can be played in places where there are no oval grounds and not enough players to field teams of 22.

    Maybe it has a place at grassroots level? There are old stagers out there, like myself, who no longer have the stamina for a full match but would love to dish out some bumps like you can’t do in AFL nines.

    I’m looking forward to watching AFLX.

    The moaners can shake their heads like Statler and Waldorf, spreading gloom and cynicism. I’ll be out at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday, getting caught up in the fun of something new – it’ll be a sporting adventure.

    And if the night finishes with the Giants raising some silverware, that would be perfect.

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    The Crowd Says (57)

    • Roar Pro

      February 15th 2018 @ 4:36am
      anon said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:36am | ! Report

      I’ll watch out of curiosity.

      T20 evolved to that point organically. The dead overs of longer limited over matches were effectively eliminated.

      3 on 3 basketball evolved organically through a lack of space, practicality of playing on a half court, requiring less players, etc.

      This AFLx exhibition seems like something Gillon tasked his pony-tailed marketing types with out of desperation after the failure of Power/Suns game in Shanghai last year (crowd 90% bored expats is NOT a success), and failure of the ANZAC games in New Zealand.

      He is not going to let the dream of taking AFL overseas to die on his watch!

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 9:18am
        mds1970 said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        For our game to have any significant presence overseas isn’t something we’ll live to see.
        This form of the game may have some benefit in places where there’s no ovals and not enough players for a traditional game of footy. But it may also have some application domestically.

        When T20 was invented, no-one really knew where it would fit in the cricket landscape. It didn’t really find its place until the Indian Premier League came into being; and the rest is history.
        No-one really knows what AFLX’s place is yet. But I’m sure that this weekend won’t be the end of it.

    • February 15th 2018 @ 7:40am
      Rob said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      Im expecting this to be fast, confusing, and to be dead in the water by the end of the weekend. If they think they need gimmicks such as acrobats and a dj to attract fans then they know they have a dog of a product.

      Thats the stuff that turns me off t20 and i fully expect it will make me turn this off too… but i hope im wrong.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 9:11am
        mds1970 said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        It turns some people off T20. But the metrics don’t lie – it turns more people on than off.
        The music, the flashing lights, the gimmicks. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea. But it creates a sense of fun and something that the whole family can enjoy together. It’s noticeable at Big Bash games how many kids are running up and down the aisles; and AFLX will appeal to that demographic.

        • Roar Pro

          February 15th 2018 @ 11:21am
          anon said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          It was clear T20 would always be successful.

          People turned up to watch from day one.

          The in-game entertainment follows that of US sports so it’s nothing revolutionary.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 4:13pm
          Post_hoc said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

          For all T20 success has it got any more countries playing the sport?

          After all isn’t that what AFL want with the X. China, India hell they would take Guam at this stage to fal in love with AFLX and then want to play.

          Has any ‘new’ nation taken up cricket because they’ve seen T20?

          • Roar Guru

            February 15th 2018 @ 4:37pm
            Cat said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

            T20 wasn’t created to be able to be played in more countries. It’s has the same limitations that regular AFL has … countries that don’t already play won’t have oval pitches for the game to be played on.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 4:40pm
            spruce moose said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:40pm | ! Report


            Cricket is played in some form or another in basically every country. It is difficult for any additional countries to play it.

            What T20 has done is made it more accessible for nations to get involved with seemingly limited resources.

            Now, these countries are decades away from any meaningful contribution to cricket at higher levels, but countries like China, Korea, Thailand are developing better talent. HK now has a T20 tournament that is slowly starting to attract Chinese ethnic players as opposed to the sub-continental descendants. Oman is currently ranked higher than Ireland in the T20I’s….

            Baby steps – midget baby steps perhaps! 🙂

    • Roar Guru

      February 15th 2018 @ 8:02am
      Redb said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      I’ll check it out, can’t really judge yet if the game will look like a training drill or actually offer a good spectacle.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 12:12pm
        mds1970 said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        Who really knows.

        But a lot of people have written it off sight unseen, which is disappointing. This has potential.

    • February 15th 2018 @ 8:28am
      Harsh Truth Harry said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      If they really want people to watch this rubbish, have skydivers land on the field during a game. Get the acrobats on the field too doing cartwheels while someone shoots for goal. Throw a few circus freaks into each side too and fire some bloke through a cannon. Oh, clowns would be good. Gilligan Mclachlan should dress up as a clown and do clown stuff on the field as he is pretty good at doing clown stuff off it.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 9:23am
        truetigerfan said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        Add HTH doing push ups with a bikini clad girl with a French poodle in her lap sitting on his back.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 10:36am
        AdelaideDocker said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        They tried a skydiver at a footy game once and it didn’t end particularly well.

    • Roar Guru

      February 15th 2018 @ 8:39am
      Grobbelaar said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      I still recall the ridicule T20 used to cop, and not just for a week or two, they copped it for a few years.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 9:21am
        mds1970 said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        And who’s laughing now.

        The AFL obviously believe there’s a market for this new form of the game. And they’ll find it. T20 came from modest beginnings until it found its place in the cricket landscape, and now it’s nearly as big as the internationals.
        I don’t know where AFLX fits into the broader footy landscape. But it will be interesting to find out.

        • Roar Guru

          February 15th 2018 @ 10:00am
          Grobbelaar said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          It fits in as a Summer disruptor, that’s it’s only focus, it doesn’t have to enjoy any other “success” to be successful.

    • Roar Guru

      February 15th 2018 @ 9:44am
      TomC said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      Statler and Waldorf were the best thing about the Muppets.

      Anyway, I sort of agree and disagree. My first thought was to sneer and laugh at it in a Statler-Walforfian fashion. My second instinct was to consider that I’m probably not the target market one way or the other, and maybe this appeals to kids like the mainstream product does.

      But thinking about it some more I’m actually more worried about it succeeding rather than failing. I quite like footy the way it is, and while there are tweaks I’d make to it, I don’t find any of the experimental rules AFLX is using all that appealing.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 9:45am
        TomC said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        I don’t seem to be able to edit my post. I meant to say maybe AFLX appeals to kids more than the mainstream product.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 10:00am
        mds1970 said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        The traditional form of footy that we all know and love will still be there. It’s not going anywhere.

        Again using the cricket analogy, T20 hasn’t killed Test cricket. Far from it. In fact there is more Test cricket being played now than ever before.
        But there’s another form of cricket, which has huge popularity and didn’t even exist 20 years ago. It’s resulted in massive growth for the game as a whole.

        Could AFLX deliver similar gains for footy? I couldn’t rule it out.

        • Roar Guru

          February 15th 2018 @ 10:18am
          TomC said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          It’s certainly done some damage to one day cricket. It’s also done some serious damage to the longer form in places like the West Indies, but I’m not super interested in that comparison because in terms of governance and attitude towards rule changes there is such an almighty gulf between cricket and footy.

          It’s naïve to assume that the AFL won’t change it’s rules in response to the success of AFLX. The AFL changes its rules frequently and typically in order to create a more appealing, marketable product.