80 Stars keen to see AFLX
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.