You reckon AFL games are ugly now? Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet, says veteran coach Rodney Eade.
Eade has delivered a dire forecast for AFL games as a spectacle if powerbrokers reduce the interchange cap.
Currently, 120 interchanges are permitted for each side a game, a number that could be halved next season.
Eade, the AFL’s most experienced current coach, says the result would be an “eyesore” as coaches devise tactics to deliberately slow play.
“Whatever way the lawmakers want to take it, they have got to then involve coaches unemotionally to say ‘what will be the outcome, what is the cause and effect’,” Eade said after Gold Coast lost to Adelaide by 45 points on Saturday.
“Sometimes we have made changes and we don’t realise what the effect is going to be.
“Getting the interchanges back to 60 or 80, I think, will have a detrimental effect on the game.
“The game has progressed that much, and the coaches are that intuitive, that the game I think will be an eyesore to be honest.”
Eade, who first became a senior AFL coach in 1996, said coaches would employ tactics to shut down games because of fatigued players.
“The coaches reference point is defence: you don’t want a goal scored against you,” he said.
“That is why we get numbers back at a stoppage. It’s not so much to open up the front end, it’s about making sure the opposition don’t score.
“So when we (players) are fatigued and we can’t come off, we won’t be resting in the forward pocket – that forward pocket will come up behind the ball.
“We will milk the clock. I reckon there will be more stoppages because we will slow it down … there will be other ways.
“Teams could for 10 minutes go flat-out and then it will be rope-a-dope for another 10 minutes; and then go quick for 10 or five minutes, and then just go rope-a-dope again and slow it down and have numbers back.”