Rule changes could lead to more blowouts, warns Scott

Could the AFL's proposed rule changes lead to a blowout in blowouts?

Momentum is building for the introduction of starting positions at centre bounces and stoppages after trials at a number of clubs.

Replay

The idea is one of several being debated by the AFL's competition committee as the league looks to eliminate congestion around the ball.

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott sits on the 12-member committee and believes the AFL has an obligation to find ways of improving the look of the game.

But he admits there's a danger lower-ranked teams will be blown out of the water in more open and high-scoring contests.

"I think one of the biggest risks to opening up congestion and reducing coaches' ability to congest the game is it makes the bottom teams' jobs a fair bit harder," Scott said.

"When you even things up and open up the game the top teams can really dominate the bottom teams.

"That's something that has certainly been raised – that if you reduce congestion, you potentially increase blowouts and that could then lead to another so-called blight on the game."

Fellow committee member and AFL Players' Association president Patrick Dangerfield is in favour of starting positions, as is AFL legend Leigh Matthews.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is firmly opposed, saying the change would be a "blight" on the game.

Scott is reserving his judgment for the time being but doesn't believe any of the ideas being considered by the committee would radically alter the game.

"When you talk about multiple changes it insinuates that there is going to be just this mass change to the game," he said.

"From what I've seen so far, I think there's enough evidence to say that a couple of complementary changes would be very hard for the football fan to actually discern from their seats in the stands.

"We don't want to see the game look completely different to what it does now.

"We do want to see the ball in transition a bit more and we do want to see a bit less congestion."

Any rule changes proposed by the competition committee would have to be approved by the AFL executive and commission.

The AFL will trial any rule changes in a full game, most likely in the VFL, by the end of the season.

AAP

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