SEN host Dwayne Russell has identified a new buzzword that AFL clubs are focusing on this pre-season.
Russell is certain that word is, ‘Speed’, as clubs prepare to play quicker than ever before in 2024.
With the trend all about moving the ball quickly, coming forward in defence and utilising running chains, Russell thinks we could see scoring improve again next campaign.
“Don’t be surprised if every AFL club is playing quicker because I'm not sure if you've heard, it (speed) is the new buzzword,” Russell said on SEN Afternoons.
“Every team that I've heard interviewed, every player that I've heard interviewed so far this pre-season is telling us they're going to move the ball quicker this year.
“Is it actually a fact? Or is it just to keep the fans happy? Will footy be played quicker this year or not? It does sound as if that's where football's going.
“Every season there is a theme that runs across all of the clubs. It happens every year about this time of year, but get ready for more, ‘We’re playing quicker’, talk.
“It sounds like we're going to get some more 20-goal tallies in games and maybe we'll get a 90-goal full forward about to return for 2024.
“Will your team play quicker? Can they actually play quicker because some lists aren't equipped with the personnel to do it?
“You might be playing a game style that is trend-based, not personnel-based.”
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan confirmed his club was one that was hoping to play quicker after they fell to Collingwood – a team renowned for their speed – in last year’s Grand Final.
Fagan thinks that the game will continue getting faster as teams focus on their ball movement and training scenarios.
“I think that's where the game's heading,” Fagan told SEN Breakfast.
“The defence has got to come forward at all costs as well now because if you don't, they just run through you.
“It's a great spectacle now, it’s a very quick game, you can't relax.
“You can be four or five goals in front but with 20 minutes to go, that can be mowed down pretty quickly.
“I think the other thing we do probably a lot more than we ever used to is just practice game scenarios.
“It’s, ‘You're a small margin in front, there's not long to go, what are you going to do?’, or, ‘You're a small margin behind, what can you do?’.
“So, we've done a lot of work on that.”
The 2024 AFL season begins on Thursday, March 7 when Sydney hosts Melbourne at the SCG.