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Damian Barrett takes you to the coaching meeting that led to the medical sub-rule

NOT THAT Alastair Clarkson ever needs an invitation to be the loudest, most empathetic voice in a room, but he was made available on a final Thursday morning when the game’s senior coach had a video conference call with the CEO the AFL and the head of the football department dialed in

With three winners from the last five Premierships absent from the meeting, Clarkson held the status of the youngest flag winner and began his usual rant about headquarters inadequate listening

Damien Hardwick and Luke Beveridge were surprising scratches for the congregation Adam Simpson and Justin Longmuir were understandable since it was 5:00 AM in their part of the world

Clarkson then went to great lengths to achieve rotations within a game (with a cap of 75 in 2021 from 90 in 2020) and also became the most dominant voice when the topic of a substitute being added to teams was brought up / p>

Six days later and just 32 hours before the start of the 2021 AFL home and away season, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and head of football, Steve Hocking, announced that the clubs would score a 23rd in every game Players could substitute for an injured or affected teammate

The new rule was introduced to greatly ensure the health and safety of footballers, especially the concussion. But like so many protocols in the AFL system, there is sufficient ambiguity for this rule to be tampered with

In incidents where a player is affected, that player will be removed from the game and will not be able to play for at least 12 days. If the AFL had restricted the use of the substitute player only for concussion incidents, this would have been much easier for the medics / p>

In non-concussion incidents, there is scope for how clubs determine a player’s unavailability within a game, and even more so for how clubs attempt to make certain subordinate players available for selection Week

The AFL has proceeded very carefully with its wording regarding the application and monitoring of this rule change

“A medical substitute can be activated immediately after it is determined that a player is medically unable to continue playing Due to the nature of the injury sustained, it will reasonably be determined that the player is medically incapable of participating in it”in every game for at least the next 12 days,” said the AFL on Wednesday

Note the use of “appropriately determined” There is the wobbly room A player may have taken a pre-existing injury into a game, is not well positioned that day, and hey, a new player is on the bench in favor of it makes the pre-existing problem possibly look like the end of the game

Likewise, it can be “reasonably determined” that a player is sufficiently injured in a game to be medically excluded, but also “reasonably determined” to be reasonably fit to play the following week

Clubs are always more than sensibly determined, regularly obsessed with finding loopholes in any rules, and before the medical fraternity of the game takes its preferred position on the high horse, we must not forget that the players themselves have recently become were heavily involved in a match match were sent back into battle

“Only the club doctor can determine that a player is medically unfit,” said the AFL on Wednesday

Also: “On or before the first working day after the game, the club doctor must provide the AFL with a medical certificate stating that the player replaced by the medical substitute has suffered the injury”

And, “A club found to be in breach of the provisions relating to medical replacement will be sanctioned under AFL rules, including serious violations for violating AFL Rule 23 (the prohibition of conduct that does not affect or adversely affect the interests or reputation of the AFL or discredit the football game) “

The experience of dealing with COVID-19 and the need to make quick, history-defining decisions within a few days, rather than what had become the months-long deliberation and consultation process that has become common for months, have clearly encouraged the AFL to make this monumental one Can usually be changed within a week and only one day before the first of 198 home and away games

But it comes at a price, some of it literally depending on how individual players are signed to their clubs (some have flat fees, some have game fees, most have game incentives) could be $ 3 million or something like that the total cost of the game for teams adding an extra player in 2021, at a time when each club’s football division has been cut by $ 3.5 million and budgets across the industry are badly damaged

By returning to 22 games consisting of 20-minute quarters (plus time-on) and sticking to the Grand Final on a Saturday time slot a day, the AFL had recently given back some of the tradition to its fans, that they were desperately looking for

When ordering the replacement rule, Clarkson and the coaches gave what they wanted

Having been forced to take so much away from the game over the past 12 months, it’s in a very good mood on the eve of the 2021 season

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World news – AU – BARRETT: How Clarko’s ranting triggered a change in AFL rules