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AFL could trial new rules in matches this season

Football

The AFL is considering trialling major rule changes in matches that have no bearing on the top eight over the closing rounds of the season.

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AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan revealed up to three games on consecutive weekends had been earmarked as potential guinea pigs for proposed new rules after discussions at AFL House in recent days.

“I can tell you that there’s three fixtures on consecutive weekends that I don’t think will have any bearing on the eight,” McLachlan told SEN radio on Wednesday.

“We’re certainly discussing it, whether that’s appropriate … the emerging view is that it is.

“If you trialled something between the two clubs and they weren’t playing another team that’s competing for the eight, I don’t think there’s any way it could be a risk to the integrity of the competition.”

McLachlan added that the trial would only go ahead with consent from the competing teams.

Potential test games include bottom-placed Carlton’s games against Fremantle in round 21 and the Western Bulldogs in round 22, as well as the round 22 Q-clash between Gold Coast and Brisbane.

McLachlan was briefed on Monday by AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking on potential rule changes for next year, with the introduction of starting positions at centre bounces believed to be top of the agenda.

Other changes believed to be in the mix include bigger goal squares – an idea championed by South Australian football legend Malcolm Blight – and new limits on player interchanges.

The AFL’s competition committee will meet on Wednesday but McLachlan said it was unlikely Hocking would emerge with confirmed changes for next season.

Hocking must bring any potential rule changes to the AFL Commission by the end of August and any tweaks would also have to be approved by the AFL executive.

– with AAP

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