The AFL’s substitute rule should be scrapped because it has never been a part of the game, Adelaide coach Phil Walsh says.
As Sydney great Adam Goodes opted for the reserves rather than another appearance in an AFL substitute vest, Walsh wants no substitute at all.
“I’m not on a crusade,” Walsh told reporters.
“I don’t like the sub.”
The first-year head coach said the substitute has never been a part of Australian Rules football before being introduced in 2011.
“I know the AFL is looking at reviewing it. I’ll be interested to see what they come up with,” he said.
“It’s a bit like the interchange – I don’t think it’s part of our game, as simple as that. It has never been in the game.
“The sub was brought in to even it out if you got an injury early.
“My argument is, just bring the interchange cap back and then you don’t have to worry about it.
“But I’m only a second game coach. So I’m not trying to drive an agenda. That is just my opinion.”
Walsh, who also wants a reduction in the interchange cap of 120 a game, has a policy that none of his Crows will be the substitute in consecutive games.
Swans star Goodes would approve, given he’s volunteered to be dropped from the AFL in favour of a full work-out at reserves level.
The dual Brownlow medallist experienced just 15 frustrating minutes of game-time as an AFL sub last weekend.
Sydney coach John Longmire said he was “more than happy to play him as a sub again” against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.
“But he suggested to play reserves, get some quality game time, get some form and fitness back and be able to push for senior selection after that,” Longmire told reporters on Thursday.
“He thought that was probably the way to go.”
Some pundits, including ex-teammate Jude Bolton, questioned whether the 35-year-old Goodes had extended his AFL career by one season too many.
But Longmire said Goodes remained much valued and retirement hadn’t been discussed.
“We want him to keep going and he’s keen to keep going,” Longmire said.
“And as we sit here at the moment, we still think he’s got a valuable role to play for us this year because he finished last season off for us quite strongly.
“We’re only round three. There’s a lot of football to go and things can change quickly as far as injury and form (is concerned).
“We’re certainly mindful of that and so is Adam. Things can change in a heartbeat.”