VFL/AFL legend Malcolm Blight has come up with five ideas to help ease congestion in football.
After Hawthorn’s Alastair Clarkson and Geelong’s Chris Scott criticised the standard of play after Sunday’s matches, the state of the game has again been placed at the top of the footy discussion heap.
Blight gave some insight into how the game has changed over the years before putting forward his five rule changes to help improve the modern game which he describes as “constipated”.
“The state of footy is under duress,” he said on Sportsday SA.
“Alastair Clarkson has called for the holding the ball rule to be changed and umpires to pay free-kicks. He’s called it a “terrible spectacle”.
“Chris Scott said change must come, don’t consult the coaches, he wants to abstain from that and the game is terrible.
“We’re in this situation again where the game is constipated. It is a tackling fest all over the ground.
“10 years ago I thought a third of the game was scrappy, and two thirds was flowing, and that’s the way it’s been for a long time.
“Now, the reverse has happened.
“In the 1999 Grand Final, North Melbourne versus Carlton, tackles on the day were 58.
“In five years from 2015 to 2019, the average is 144 on Grand Final day with a high of 193. A massive, massive increase.
“Team defence teachings has changed the look of the game for fans and stymied the skill of the players. I thin it should be removed from any coaching courses that are given.”
Blight's five rule changes to help change the game:
“There are four certainties and a fifth one if the rest don’t work,” he added.
1. “Kick backwards anywhere is play on.
2. “Last touch out of bounds a free kick. Why don’t we do it?
3. “I’ve gone from 20 metres to 25 for a short kick only to quality as a mark.
4. “The umpires pay every infringement no matter how small. If tiggy touchwood is a free kick, pay it.
“And the final one, if they don’t work, the most dramatic thing has got to happen.
5. “I reckon we should remove tackling the body from the game.
“Just like Gaelic football, you can only tackle the ball. There will be many, many less stoppages.
“Something drastic needs to happen.”