80 Stars keen to see AFLX

Sunday Herald Sun - - AFL -

PLAYER sup­port is grow­ing for the AFL’s con­tro­ver­sial AFLX ex­per­i­ment.

The league’s lips re­main largely sealed over the con­cept, but a seven-a-side roundrobin for­mat on Fe­bru­ary 16-18 is the most likely out­come.

Teams will play four 10minute quar­ters on a soc­cer­size field in a plan that has been crit­i­cised by some clubs.

But the game tri­alled and loved by North Mel­bourne last pre-sea­son and played by some VFL clubs in March, is now catch­ing the at­ten­tion of the play­ers.

“I know a lit­tle bit about it. It’s a cool con­cept,” Hawthorn star Jack Gun­ston said.

“It’s a bit dif­fer­ent and look, if it was thrown up to the clubs and the clubs want to play then I’m sure the play­ers would love to give it a crack.”

Clubs will play only two JLT com­mu­nity se­ries games, down from three, to ac­com­mo­date AFLX.

“It’s prob­a­bly good. Pre­sea­son can drag on a bit and it would be good to mix it up and if it’s a game you can take over­seas then why not?” Gun­ston said.

“It’s more get­ting to know the rules and how many play­ers are on the field and what type of play­ers. You talk to the ruck­men and they’re like, ‘Well, is it a game for us?’ And then is it for the smalls?

“I guess there’s a lit­tle bit of con­fu­sion among the play­ers at the mo­ment in not know­ing what’s go­ing on, but that can be cleared up.”

Carl­ton vet­eran Kade Simp­son said AFLX “in­trigued” him.

“I don’t know a whole heap about it. But once the AFL put a few more things in place around the de­tails of it I’ll hap­pily have a look at it,” Simp­son said.

“Once we know a bit more it will be talked about among the play­ers, I’m sure. I’d be in­ter­ested to see how it works.”

North Mel­bourne said last month that it would vol­un­teer its best play­ers in a ver­sion of the game it found ex­cit­ing.

“We like it and we think it’s the best time of the year to play it. Guys are fit and ready and play­ing match sim­u­la­tion any­way,” Kan­ga­roos footy boss Cam Joyce said. “We think it’s a high-oc­tane, high-in­ten­sity game and hav­ing tri­alled it for the AFL at Ar­den St the boys re­ally liked it.”

Joyce said there was no rea­son why clubs wouldn’t play their stars in at least one of the games.

“You would nor­mally play a JLT game at that time of year so some teams would leave their best play­ers out, but with a short­ened game you might play your more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers in one of those games,” he said.

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