Thursday saw the return of the NRL, the first mainstream sport to resume in Australia after the easing of COVID 19 lockdown legislation.
The work behind the scenes by chairman Peter V’landys to take initiative and implement a restart and changes to the game has been nothing short of impressive.
The AFL is set to restart on June 11th in crowd-free stadiums and can learn a lot from the resumption of the NRL.
The NRL implemented crowd noises to their broadcasts on the weekend to provide the feel that an audience was present.
Cheers at times were often loud and over-hyped on occasion but worked will provide an atmosphere to the broadcast.
Another major change was only one referee compared to the usual two. This provided the game with a bit more pace rather than conferring and deliberating a call with a second referee.
The biggest ruling change was the 6-again wave on advantage rather than stopping the play. This was a welcomed change keeping the game moving along rather than breaking for repeated sets.
The AFL can learn a lot from the round of NRL. The AFL need to be liaising with broadcasting partners over the next two weeks to implement crowd noises. Broadcasters should be sourcing the familiar “Ball” call that is just so unique to the football that we are so used to.
The AFL’s current system of three on-field umpires would be the bare minimum at the moment, as the game gets faster off the ball incidents are becoming more prevalent and require an extra umpire to keep an eye on that.
Although the AFL doesn’t have a set of six again rule, stoppages in the field of play are becoming more a part of the game. The reduction of repeated ball ups needs to be eradicated by creating a wider perimeter to prevent the sharking of the ball.
The previous weekend of live sport in Australia provided by the NRL was something that all sports fans were happy to experience.