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Hocking tackling comments "misconstrued" and led to "fake debate": Whateley


SEN chief broadcaster Gerard Whateley believes the AFL and Steve Hocking’s comments on tackling were misinterpreted and has caused a false outrage.

Hocking said earlier in the week that the AFL wants tackling to feature less.

"I have a very strong view on that. It has become a feature of our game and all the stuff that we’re analysing is how to get a balance back in that so that it’s not a feature of the game,” Hocking said.

"I don’t think there’s a number ... but certainly, we don’t want that (tackling) necessarily as a skill."

Whateley told AFL Nation that the AFL has no plan to introduce a limit on tackling or any rules about the issue period.

“It was fake news. The AFL is not considering rules to reduce the amount of tackling in the game. It’s just not. In fact, there are no new rules in the pipeline,” Whateley said.

“Their stated aim, which was reiterated at the briefing, of which tackling did become part of, is to open the game up and thus, as a cause, the tackling numbers would reduce.

“So the discussion was around Greg Williams saying I don’t go to the footy to watch people tackle and Steve Hocking agreed with that. He felt that 161 tackles in a game as opposed to the running and the marking and the kicking of goals was out of whack, but there are no rules being contemplated to reduce the number of tackles.

“That got completely misconstrued and led to a really damaging and fake debate.

“I’ve got sympathy for them (the AFL) on this one because I’ve been one saying hey, you’ve got to get out and talk to us, and they talk to us and this is what we did with it.

“We took something that wasn’t real and made it the feature.”

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