A former AFL player has slammed the league’s proposal to change the length of the halftime break, which will have ramifications for Auskick matches.
A former AFL player has slammed the league’s proposal to change the length of the halftime break, which will have ramifications for Auskick matches.

Luke Ablett slams AFL’s ‘incredibly stupid’ halftime plan

The AFL is considering slashing the halftime break from 20 minutes to 10 in a radical move aimed at reducing the length of football matches.

Club chief executives were briefed on the proposal by league supremo Gillon McLachlan and football operations boss Steve Hocking at a meeting at AFL House ahead of last night's national draft.

Clubs were told the plan was aimed at maintaining the interest of fans at the ground and watching on TV.

It would see the traditional halftime Auskick matches shifted to the pre-game slot.

A league spokesman confirmed the changes were a serious option for the 2020 season.

The quarter-time and three-quarter time breaks will remain at six minutes, the spokesman said.

Ex-Sydney player Luke Ablett tweeted the idea was "incredibly f---ing stupid".

Auskick games will be affected by the halftime length change. Picture: AFL Photos
Auskick games will be affected by the halftime length change. Picture: AFL Photos

 

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett expressed dismay at the move.

"Well, of course, this is the first I've heard about it," Kennett said.

"It might be one thing for the CEO's to be told, and maybe the CEO's will inform their boards, but this is a fundamental change to the game.

"You would have to be concerned about the effect on players, who have spent considerable time on the field before the halftime break and what this will do to their physical wellbeing."

 

The plan comes just days after the AFL floated another plan for players to challenge umpire decisions and call for their own goal reviews.

"I can't believe that is right because if that is correct, it will potentially lengthen the game by minutes if not hours," Kennett said.

"Maybe AFL head office is just entering the silly season.

The former Victorian premier said the AFL "hadn't been interested in the history of the game for years".

"We've now got three umpires, they talk of four. There are rule changes almost every year.

"The AFL are not the proud protectors of the historical game - they have created a new game altogether.

"They are running the risk - again - of putting the viewing public totally off-side."

Geelong skipper Joel Selwood backs the move to shorten the halftime break. Picture: Getty Images
Geelong skipper Joel Selwood backs the move to shorten the halftime break. Picture: Getty Images

But Geelong captain Joel Selwood said he would support a move to truncate games.

"Even being a fan of footy, people can lose interest really quickly so to cut the games shorter with the halftime period, I am all for that," he told the Herald Sun.

"It takes you three minutes to get down and three minutes to get back up so you are already wasting six minutes already.

"To be honest it wouldn't be much of a change for us. I reckon you would stay up and play it for what it is."

Selwood said he understood the importance of maximising appeal for fans in a competitive sporting marketplace.

"We have to kick more goals and make sure it's quick but we have to get the coaches on board. It's more just as a fan I am saying it," he said.

"Change is good. I am for change."

Essendon coach John Worsfold said he wouldn't be fussed if the AFL made the change.

Recruiting sources said the halftime reduction, mooted just an hour before Fridau night's draft, had the potential to change how they ranked players.

Prospects with poor endurance could be looked upon less favourably in lineball decisions. They also said it would create havoc for high-performance teams.

One scout joked that coaches would ping hamstrings while attempting to sprint to the rooms for the halftime break.



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