AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking believes there’s potential for a player loans system which was floated by Damien Hardwick during the week, saying it’s the AFL’s “duty” to consider ideas that can benefit the players.
Hardwick offered the idea earlier this week as a way to ensure players that are needed at other clubs could play more, especially key position players.
Gold Coast is facing somewhat of a ruck crisis, with all three ruckmen on their list unavailable due to injuries, yet Richmond has young ruckman Samson Ryan who is unable to play his preferred position due to the level of depth at Richmond.
Hocking told SEN's Crunch Time he agrees with the basis of Hardwick’s idea.
“I think the overarching thing that Damien (Hardwick) was saying, and it’s absolutely spot on," he said.
"We want players, men and women to play AFL and AFLW. Where you can, where there are mechanisms that can be considered, I think that’s the duty we have to consider that."
While Hocking acknowledges there are certainly upsides to the concept, he said the AFL’s first concern must be with the players.
“I think there’s some challenges around it, first are foremost it’s the player. We need to consider the impact on the player in that scenario,” Hocking said.
With this idea under consideration, one that Hocking has introduced was the ‘stand’ rule, which has been received well in the AFL this season.
“It comes back to a better balance between attack and defence… For me and my team it’s all about space in the game,” he said.
The new rule has not just helped the flow of the game, but also individual groups of players, according to Hocking.
“I’m seeing younger players be able to come in and have an impact immediately because of the space in the game… then you’re seeing someone like Tex Walker and people were asking how long he’s got left, now we’re talking about him having even longer, that’s the exciting thing,” he said.