North Melbourne tall Todd Goldstein says young ruckmen will be among the chief beneficiaries from a change to the AFL’s much-loathed substitutes rule.
A day after Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said he was already planning for the death of the rule, Goldstein was talking up the benefits of dumping the substitutes.
It’s the second ruckman that is often given the red vest in matches as teams opt for more speed or movement later in matches.
As the Kangaroos – and arguably the league’s – No.1 ruckman, Goldstein said he didn’t expect any change to impact him now, but developing talls would be delighted.
“For any young ruckmen coming through, it’s going to give them a lot more opportunities,” he said.
“My first 20 games, I was probably averaging 40 per cent game time.
“It takes a while to get up to speed with the jump from VFL to AFL level.
“It gives an opportunity for young ruckman to get that fourth ruck spot on the bench which they can’t necessarily get.”
An influential AFL players group has given the green and red vests the thumbs down, as have a number of coaches.
Goldstein didn’t go as far as calling for its abolition.
Instead, he was focussed on his own role in the Kangaroos side.
The giant Kangaroo’s output is up across the board on an already strong 2014 season.
Goldstein has had more touches, more hit-outs, more clearances, more tackles and more contested marks per game than last season and was voted best on ground by both coaches in North’s 16-point defeat of Geelong on Sunday.
He said his form stemmed from confidence and an unparalleled pre-season.
“It’s the consistency now, every week I know what level I need to get to and try to hit that.
“In the past I probably hoped.
“Now it has to happen, there’s no other excuse.
“But we are 2-2 so we all need to lift another gear.”
The fixture list doesn’t get any easier for North Melbourne, which plays Hawthorn on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
Goldstein said he expected Daniel Wells and Jamie Macmillan, who missed Sunday’s win over the Cats, to strongly contend for selection this weekend against Hawthorn.