Scrap the Suns and other radical ideas to shake up the AFL

Wayne Roar Guru

By Wayne, Wayne is a Roar Guru

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    The AFL needs a bit of a shake up, so here are some ideas that could spice things up.

    Let’s start off with a controversial one.

    Reduce the season to 18 games
    With the Players’ Association sayikng the season is too long, and fans complaining that double-up games are unbalanced, here’s a solution: drop the season down to 18 home-and-away games.

    Teams play each other once, with one double-up game against a chosen rivals (Showdown, Derby, Battle of Bridge, Q Clash). Home and away matches would rotate across each season, so Collingwood would host West Coast in one season, then travel to Perth the next.

    Broadcasters would obviously be displeased about losing 36 games, across how many hours of coverage. But I would counter that less is more, and knowing you only have nine home games rather than 11 will encourage people to watch more games.

    More byes
    From Rounds 3 to 12, there should only be eight games, so each team gets a bye. Then, where Round 17 would be, have an entire weekend off, which would se all players being sent away from their clubs (barring injured players, who are doing recovery stuff), and letting them have a genuine week off.

    They’d be expected to still follow diets and do gym sessions, but they’d get away from the football grind, and take a well-deserved break before pushing towards the finals.

    It would also allow officials to have a guilt-free break. The assistant coaches can take the weekend off, and go skiing. The trainers can go watch their kids play weekend football and relax without racing back to club duties.

    The rolling byes (where two teams have breaks during the season) artificially extends the season, while not affecting broadcasters too badly. If anything, it enables more flexibility, as teams having the week off can easily play Thursday or Monday night football.

    Grand final stays in the afternoon
    We have always done this, so why change? I enjoy the BBQ lunch on grand final day, followed by the game, then the BBQ dinner (because you probably didn’t clear anything up after the lunch).

    From a purely practical point of view, an afternoon game finishes around 5pm, the players don’t get back to the change rooms until say 6:15pm, then celebrate with their teammates and family. Have a shower and something to eat, while enjoying a sponsored alcoholic beverage, they then join the commoners for the afterparty around 9pm.

    If we move that to the night-time slot, the game would finish at 10pm, meaning the players wouldn’t get out of the changerooms until closer to midnight. And it would be such a long day for the players and officials that most would be gassed. They would still kick on, but exhaustion would hit sooner.

    The entire argument that the pre and post-game entertainment would be better at night is silly. The grand final is the entertainment. You could put re-runs of Australian Idol on the big screens at halftime and I wouldn’t mind – I watch the footy for the footy. If I want to see Alice Cooper or Good Charlotte, I will go to their concerts.

    Jack Riewoldt The Killers

    Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images

    Bye-bye Gold Coast Suns
    While the AFL apparently needs a presence on the Gold Coast to keep their global domination plans intact, the Suns are doing more harm than good.

    Where Greater Western Sydney is more about taking a sliver of the western Sydney market, the Gold Coast is just a joke that stopped being funny.

    Move the licence to Tassie, and give the region to the Lions. They can stay the Brisbane Lions, just get them to play a couple of games in the Gold Coast, and team up with clubs like the Bulldogs, Saints or North Melbourne to ‘sell’ a home game to the Gold Coast.

    Draft pick lotteries, free agency picks, and trade-only picks
    The AFL can pretend taking doesn’t happen, but why would Carlton or the Suns bother trying to win when they can get Pick 1 (and in the Suns’ case, two very high picks with restricted free agency)?

    Bracket the bottom four together, giving a 50 per cent chance for the team bottom to get pick 1, 25 per cent for 17th, 15 per cent for 16th and 10 per cent for 15th. That way, at best they can increase their odds, but not guarantee themselves top pick.

    Free-agency compensation picks should be scrapped, as clubs have no incentive to force a trade when the compensation pick is a better outlet. Your compensation for losing the player is the salary cap room and list space.

    Lastly, I would introduce ‘trade only’ compensation picks. Carlton and Gold Coast are both muted to be looking at compensation picks to bolster their lists, but they both don’t need the best 18-year-old in the country, they need premium, ready-made talent.

    So, make it a trade-only pick and force the clubs to trade it away.

    So there we are Roarers, a few thought bubbles for the weekend that may serve as a conversation starter.

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (45)

    • July 14th 2018 @ 3:37am
      Ad-O said | July 14th 2018 @ 3:37am | ! Report

      Regular season should always be to play every other team home and away or else the draw is fundamentally unfair. Yes a lot more games, but I don’t accept that the players can’t handle it. Top European rugby players are playing up to 40 games a season, and you can’t convince me that is less physically demanding than AFL.

    • Roar Guru

      July 14th 2018 @ 8:29am
      Peter the Scribe said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      I like the idea of sending the sun baking Suns to sub Antarctic Tassie but Gil won’t ever admit they got something wrong.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 9:46am
      Craig said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      Of course the GF should be in the arvo but you’re reasoning is the worst I’ve heard. Because it’s a long day for the players and they’ll be too tired to party all night? What the hell.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 9:59am
      Patrick Moran said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      I quite like that fixture idea. It seems relatively fair, and the extra byes extend it to around 20 weeks. There probably also needs to be a way of improving Friday night games. Its easy to say that good teams should be playing then, but its hard to predict at the start if the year. For example, Richmond last year, and Collingwood this year weren’t expected to be quality teams. A R23 style fixture is probably tough for interstate fans, but it works in the Premier League, and sufficient warning can allow fans to make travel arrangements. It looks as though this proposal would have 19 rounds, so maybe Round 1-10 could be set beforehand, Round 11-15 could be set in Round 5, and Round 16-19 set in Round 10, for example.

    • Roar Guru

      July 14th 2018 @ 10:11am
      Paul Dawson said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      I’d really like an 18 game season. It is too long and the top 8 is usually determined by the bye rounds anyway. The eventual premier is always in there anyway.

      until I see a future premier come from outside the 8 because of a run of wins achieved weeks 19-23 I don’t see why it needs to be longer.

      I don’t like the current 3 week anaesthetised bye period so anything different is good.

      not sure how keeping the grand final where it has been for 100 years is radical – or maybe in today’s dizzying world of never ending change, it actually is. either way I don’t mind. If they had the grand final starting at 5 that wouldn’t be the end of the world. Any later than that – like 7:30, and I would get grumpy.

      I’d happily see the Suns scrapped. Your idea about having melbourne clubs ‘sell’ games to the Gold Coast and play 4-5 games a year at metricon to give their interstate fans some cheer is a really good one too. The qld government could probably be persuaded, so long as someone was playing there, and they could also use the stadium for other things too, like concerts.

      I like trade only picks, but I’d not even give them to Carlton or the Suns – I’d have the afl retain them and dole them out directly to clubs that can persuade players to go to cellar dweller clubs

      the people chiefly responsible for the plight of the suns are the couple hundred of elite afl players in my view. Their unwillingness to put the integrity of the comp ahead of self interest at trade time is the main reason the suns haven’t gone anywhere

    • July 14th 2018 @ 10:17am
      BigAl said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Shadows are a real killer for the TV audience if the game is played on lovely sunny afternoon.

      – good for football, bad for telecasting…

      • July 15th 2018 @ 8:47pm
        bryan said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

        Back in the analog TV days, skilled Camera Control Unit (CCU) operators could control the picture black level to the point that a player could stand straddling the shadow line, & still be correctly rendered.

        The CCUs in modern digital TV are all automatic & have major problems with this.

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