AFL players are quietly resenting the lack of intra-season rest time after the league decided against reintroducing two byes for 2016, Sydney defender Ted Richards says.
The AFL dropped one of the two bye rounds at the end of 2014 having had to shorten the 2015 season to cater for the cricket World Cup.
But it decided against reintroducing the double-bye season for this year.
“We’re quietly filthy that the AFL hasn’t given us the two byes that we’ve been requesting,” Richards, who sits on the AFL Players’ Association board, told Melbourne radio station RSN on Wednesday.
Instead, the eight teams who make the finals will get a week’s rest after the final round 23.
But Richards argues all teams should be entitled to two weeks off, with the physical and mental reprieve invaluable.
“From a player’s perspective, there’s a lot of merit to having two byes evenly scattered throughout the season for all teams,” he said.
The 33-year-old himself was eased back into competitive action with the reserves during the Swans’ bye last weekend after a month out with concussion.
He rates himself a 50-50 chance to make his AFL return against the Bulldogs at the SCG on Saturday.
“It’ll be a full game this week, it’s just a matter of which team,” he said.