McLachlan defends AFL bye weekend

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has defended the code’s decision to implement a bye week before the finals, saying it will allow fans to see players at peak fitness.

The AFL announced last October that the competition would take a break before September footy to discourage finals-bound teams from resting players in the last round of the regular season.

Fremantle brought the issue to a head by resting 11 players in their 69-point loss to Port Adelaide in round 23 2015.

However, the draw change has sparked some criticism, with Geelong coach Brad Scott saying he’d prefer not to have the week off.

But McLachlan told Triple M Radio there haven’t been any clear arguments as to why it’s a bad call.

“I know there are a lot of people who have said they don’t like it. I’m not sure I’ve had clear articulation why,” he said.

“I’m certainly hearing that from the clubs that are actually getting some players back and they’re going to be fresh.

“Ticket sales have been strong, we get to celebrate the All-Australians properly, community footy is going to be on, on the weekend.

“We brought it in to deal with this integrity issue. We thought there was upside in it and we’ll see.”

Sydney Swans assistant coach Nick Davis says the bye round gives the minor premiers a chance for key players to recover before next Saturday’s cross-town blockbuster against the Giants.

“It’s a good opportunity if they’re a little bit busted up to get that fixed, or if they want to put a bit more in they can do that too,” he told AAP.

Davis, part of the club’s 2005 premiership-winning side, was confident the break wouldn’t curtail the Swans’ momentum.

Sydney are riding a six-game winning streak.

“Confidence and having a healthy list is really important and at the moment this team has that,” Davis said.

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