Nick Dal Santo has voiced his concerns about the AFL using clubs to trial potential new rule changes in the latter stages of this season.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachan revealed on SEN’s Whateley that the league’s hierarchy are “certainly discussing” the idea of clubs who are not vying for a finals spot potentially trialling proposed new rule changes.
The former St Kilda and North Melbourne midfielder says the integrity of the competition would be under threat.
“I have concerns with changing the rules for certain games,” Dal Santo told SEN Afternoons.
“I have concerns with the supporters, fans of the ones who love the game but support those particular clubs that are in some ways made to be guinea pigs for the other clubs to trial things.
“I would have thought coming into a season, that’s the rules for that season.
“My take on is if that’s the rule for this season then unfortunately - whether you like it or hate it - that is it for the remainder of the year.
“I would struggle as a player to take the game seriously, it’s hard enough at the end of the year to find a purpose.
“Some teams haven’t been able to make the finals from the half-way mark, so what’s your purpose? How are you going to get better for next year?
“If I was told maybe in one fortnights time you’re going to be playing a modified game, do you know what I would be saying to the coach: ‘this game isn’t a real game, I’m playing full forward today thanks coach.’
“I would struggle mentally to take this game seriously if they’re modified rules in season.”
SEN Afternoons host Andy Maher questioned whether any other professional sporting league in the world would trial rules mid-season.
“What other elite level professional leagues in the world of sport would do this?” Maher said.
"If you can think of an elite level football competition anywhere in the world that has done something like this, as a precedent by changing the way the game gets played in season for a few games, with a view to changing the game in its entirety the next season, I would love to hear from you.”
SEN Afternoons with Andy Maher can be heard Monday-Friday 12-3pm, and you can subscribe to the podcast here.