AFLX: What’s not to like?

Aligee Roar Rookie

By Aligee, Aligee is a Roar Rookie


19 Have your say

    People either have short memories or no memories. Perhaps they weren’t alive or were not interested.

    I am talking about high scoring open running football.

    The 1972 VFL grand final was the highest pressure, hardest tackling game of the year. It ended with Carlton kicking 28.9-172 defeating Richmond 22.18-150 – that is an incredible scoreline and reflects an open game.

    If anyone has the chance to even look at some games from the 1980s what you will find is relatively high scoring, open running football with not a great amount of tackling.

    It is a game that reflects the huge field it is played on, not flooding to make the ground appear smaller.

    Fast forward to 2006 and there was an average of 47.6 stoppages per game, move forward again to 2015 and between Rounds 1 and 16 there was an average of 73.7 per game, with nearly 80 a match between Rounds 9 to 15.

    Over a number of years the game has been increasingly bogged down and ultimately people get used to it and accept it. Followers of the great Australian game used to point with pride at how open and attacking our game was, it reflected who we were, a big game for a big wide open country.

    Move forward again to AFLX in 2018, which to my eye reminds me of 1980s footy or international rules. People are complaining left, right and centre how this is not football as we know it.

    Well, they are right, it is not a game of endless stoppages with a couple of minutes of footy breaking out here and there, it is not a game of 20 players around the ball and rolling rugby type scrums, it is not a game of flooding defence or zoning off then hoping for a quick break football style.

    Brandon Matera

    (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

    OK, I get it, maybe scoring is too easy in AFLX and the physicality is much less than a standard AFL game, I accept that, but if people were thinking they would get a physical game they were mistaken.

    The game should it be taken more seriously by AFL clubs and that means putting up money for the winner. If so it would probably be far more physical than what it is currently and with that would come fans with a more serious approach.

    What AFLX gives the game of Australian football is the opportunity to play on grounds that previously were out of bounds for footy here or even overseas. It provides plenty of options for smaller teams on smaller grounds which are much easier to organise. It is therefore easier on parents and officials, easier on smaller clubs with not the full complement of 20 players or so per team in particular age groups.

    It is easier on bigger clubs with ground shortages in the northern states and easier in country areas with dwindling or changing demographics.

    I don’t get it, what is not to like?.

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • February 18th 2018 @ 7:55am
      Slane said | February 18th 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      When I first moved to Melbourne I lived in an international college. One of the activities that I got right behind was taking the Internationals to the Footy. I’d say during my three year stint at college I would have taken close to 200 people from all over the world to see our game. Some people loved it, some didn’t, some are still playing the game in their home country. A lot of different people from a lot of different places with a lot of different ideas about how a sport should be played. And yet every single one of them remarked on the high-flying and physical nature of the sport. The most defining features of our sport are big marks, big hits, heaps of players and a big ground to play on. Fair enough we make the ground smaller and lose some players to make the game more accessible, but losing the contested marking and contest for the ball and the soul of the game dissappears too. There were 21 games of ‘footy’ played this weekend and maybe 5 passages of play worthy of a highlight real. AFLX may be accessible but it is neither exciting nor entertaining.

      • February 18th 2018 @ 8:59am
        Drago said | February 18th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        say you. I found it very enjoyable.

        • February 18th 2018 @ 10:28am
          jeff dustby said | February 18th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          theres always someone

          • February 18th 2018 @ 11:30am
            Drago said | February 18th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

            Yes Jeff, there is. Good on you for being that someone.

            • February 18th 2018 @ 3:03pm
              jeff dustby said | February 18th 2018 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

              mirror please, Drago

      • February 18th 2018 @ 10:00am
        truetigerfan said | February 18th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        Definitely agree Slane. Pretty much a game of keepings off. Mildly entertaining but just not a genuine contest. Comparing it to footy of the 70s and 80s is a misnomer . . . these games had one-on-ones all over the ground. AFLX is uncontested circle work.

        • February 18th 2018 @ 11:02am
          Aligee said | February 18th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          Well i would disagree, AFLX has to be plenty of time one on one, there is to much space otherwise to zone, there is plenty of space to run into thats why its looks uncontested, another player or 2 would make a hell of a difference.

          People have been seriously dumbed down IMO to accept that footy today is representative of the game that many people grew up with, now that may be a romantic old man shouting at clouds notion to some degree, but i think stats back me up and whatsmore my eyeballs back me up looking at old games.

          • February 18th 2018 @ 11:54am
            Mattyb said | February 18th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            Aligee,I think your comment regarding more prize money is probably the best I’ve heard,it would certainly increase the intensity of the gome.
            I think the AFL might consider adding one or two more players to the field when they review the concept.
            As for you opinion that people might have been ‘dumbed down’,I think your again not far off the money. People’s memories have certainly diminished,as well as our acceptance of mediocrity and our new found love for anything shiny.

            I tend to enjoy your articles so hopefully there’s plenty more throughout the season.

            • February 18th 2018 @ 1:04pm
              Aligee said | February 18th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

              Appreciate the comment, i might point out that i don’t know you or have any knowledge of cash for comment 🙂

            • February 19th 2018 @ 10:22am
              R King said | February 19th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

              Mattyb, I think you are on the right track. here are a few suggestions to make it more appealing to a wider audience.

              Lets make it 11 aside and play with an International Rules ball [a round one] it can be silver, yellow or red, the colour isn’t important. Lets make it two 45 minute halves and have 3 subs and once your subbed there is no coming back on. Then lets introduce a rule where the goal scorer must have atleast two defenders between him and the goal line, we could call it off-side of something like that. We could ofcourse do something really radical and play each team home and away during the summer, that way supporters could decide if its the BBL or AFLX they want to watch. I’m pretty sure it could catch on, even wait for the FFA to release their A League fixtures then go around the nation and play the AFLX a couple of days before each of their fixtures on the grounds they are scheduled to plat on, that will piss them off and we could sell this concept to the rest of the world.

      • February 18th 2018 @ 10:09am
        Aligee said | February 18th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        You make valid points, however IMO physicality was not 100 stoppages and 150 tackles a game in the traditional sense, i know i posted it somewhere else but worth repeating IMO…………..

        In 1987 Dipper won the tackling stats for the year with 66 tackles from 21 games, Sean Denham was second with 58 tackles from 22 games.

        In 2017 Rory Sloane put on 187 tackles over 24 games, Brad Ebert second with 176 tackles, 43 players made over 100 tackles for the year.

    • February 18th 2018 @ 9:32am
      Rob said | February 18th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      The exciting build up of possessions from back line to forward line involving 10 players chains of handballs and precision kicking with the crowd getting louder and louder till they reach a feverpitch as the goal they knew was coming at the half back line is banged through.

      Thats whats missing.

      Other that that it was ok to watch. Just ok.

    • February 18th 2018 @ 10:48am
      Mattician6x6 said | February 18th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      It was a bit of fun, something we all need at end of day.
      I enjoyed Thurs arvo ( commitments came first on other two days), and it wet my appetite for the season ahead.
      If a 10 1/2 hr event spread over three days forty-fifty days out from season proper is the way our attention is going get footy focussed I’m happy enough, or shall we bring back the ansett cup? Cause that was such a success.

    • Roar Guru

      February 18th 2018 @ 12:32pm
      mds1970 said | February 18th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      I enjoyed it. Was a fun day at the SFS yesterday – unfortunately the Giants couldn’t get the chocolates, but you couldn’t take anything away from the Lions.

      AFLX is like the AFL equivalent of rugby sevens. It’s not the Bledisloe Cup or Super Rugby and doesn’t try to be. But it has its own audience, non-stop scoring and a party vibe.
      I appreciate it for what it is. And the traditional form of the game, which I love, is still there.

    • February 18th 2018 @ 7:35pm
      dave said | February 18th 2018 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

      I like afl as it is The prelim final between the dogs and giants was an amazing example of pressure and was the game that finally got my foreign partner addicted to afl.(She didn’t show much interest in aflx,sorry Gil).
      One thing i dont like is the rule changes.They seem to bring in new rules every year.I cant think of any other code that changes its rules on a yearly basis.
      I like aflx as it is, interesting to watch.Just a bit of preseason fun.
      However I dont think the afl will view it like this and will start bring in new rules to the real game based on aflx.

    • February 19th 2018 @ 8:22am
      Milo said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      I find AFLX somewhat entertaining – maybe a four out of ten – but also leaves you with an empty feeling. The whole game has been created for the ground dimensions. For mine, I think we’ve got a great package as is and we don’t need to change to an export lite brand for shipping. Im not one who says “don’t change rules leave everything as is” but somehow this doesn’t quite hit the mark.

      Id prefer we reduce the on field players to 16 or even 15 in the main game to get back to more free flowing football. That would show off some more skill and the hits would certainly be harder. However the game’s still great as it is.

      That’s BS about the 72 GF being the hardest tackling, highest pressure game of the year. it was certainly highest running and scoring but the Tigers couldn’t catch the Blues on the ground or on the scoreboard that day. If you want to look back to high pressure and tackling just look a few weeks earlier in the drawn semi final at Waverley. That was ferocious. BTW the reason the Tigers lost 72 but beat the Blues by more in 73 was a huge need for revenge and players like Green, Keane, McGhie, Wood, Fowler, Carter, and Rae coming in. One third of the team was turned over year on year. But we digress…

      • February 19th 2018 @ 12:17pm
        Bobbo7 said | February 19th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        AFL or AFLX will never take off overseas – it simply won’t happen. If you have a ground of those dimensions most will play soccer like the other 9/10 of the world.

        Other than ex-pats no one overseas could care less about AFL much less a much poorer version.

        And really, the AFL does just fine as is. Why try and expand overseas when it really isn’t going to happen.

        • Roar Guru

          February 19th 2018 @ 12:23pm
          Cat said | February 19th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

          Why does a ground have to only have one game played on it?

          • February 19th 2018 @ 12:58pm
            R King said | February 19th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

            There are some pretty good reasons Cat, take lawn bowls as an example, they really need a flat surface to play on, a bit like football, so you don’t see too may other sports played at a Lawn Bowls club. Footy and cricket grounds are pretty interchangeable, roughly the same size and generally the sports are played at different times of the year. {I said generally} I’m at a lost why the AFLX wasn’t played at the MCG or Adelaide Oval considering football has been played at both venues at different times, I think the AFL were edging their bets, it would of been more of a disaster if, given the numbers that did turn up, a camera panned around a stadium built for 55k and you only saw the 8k that were there.

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