AAP AFL

Buckley, Danger split on AFL rule tweaks

By AAP Newswire

AFL legend Malcolm Blight says anyone resisting rule changes in the code should quit their posts.

Leading AFL players and coaches are divided on proposed rule changes which Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley fears would be a "blight" on the game.

But dual premiership coach Blight says changes must happen to save the code as a spectacle.

"Our game is choking itself to death," Blight told Adelaide radio station 5AA on Wednesday night.

"Change is coming. If you don't like it, resign and go and join the unemployment queue."

The AFL's competition committee will meet next Wednesday and several ideas are in the mix, with the elimination of congestion around the ball a top priority.

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

But Collingwood coach Buckley fears the change would kill the flow of the game.

"I don't like it. I think it will be a blight on the game," Buckley told SEN radio on Wednesday.

"The goal-line technology has proven to be not perfect; it deadens and slows the flow of the game, the game stops at times to wait for that to happen.

"I think if we go to zones, we're going to be waiting for players to get back in the zones. And how often do you want to do that?

"Every time there's a stoppage in the forward 50, we're waiting for three pairs of players to go and get back in the opposite 50. That's what the product is likely to descend into."

Blight said Buckley was being short-sighted.

"What Nathan Buckley can't do is see the future," Blight said.

"The game is so slow at times, it's boring.

"Coaches and players should stay out of this discussion."

AFL Players' Association president Patrick Dangerfield said starting positions would create a more watchable game.

"I wouldn't see it as a blight," the Geelong star said.

"I think we need to give it a chance to work first.

Geelong coach Chris Scott has also expressed support for starting points while Western Bulldogs counterpart Luke Beveridge is firmly opposed.

Dangerfield, who is a member of the 12-man competition committee, has viewed footage from the initial trials and liked what he saw.

"I really like the look of it," he said.

"It reminded me of 2005 when you would see a stoppage and (dual Brownlow Medallist Chris) Judd burst out of a pack, and he'd have 20 metres of space to run into before he was confronted with any numbers."

Once the competition committee rubber-stamps any rule changes, they will go before the AFL executive and then the commission will have the final say.

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