The AFL is thinking outside the box as they ponder ways to improve the competition.
AFL football operations manager Mark Evans has revealed a handful of ideas, very much in the embryonic stage, that are on the radar of league bigwigs.
It includes the prospect of adding two teams to the finals equation, something that was first looked at when the league expanded to 18 teams in 2012.
“Maybe you have six who are in (the finals), fighting for spots. Then maybe you’re fighting for four wildcard playoffs,” Evans told Fox Footy.
“I don’t mind it. There are some logistical challenges but I think it’s something worthwhile progressing.”
The change could coincide with a proposed tweak to the fixture.
Clubs debated the merits of a new model in 2015, under which the ladder would be split into three sections after 17 rounds (when every side has played each other once).
The top six would battle each other over the final stretch of the regular season, as would the middle six and the bottom six.
“It needs a lot more work but it’s something that could progress,” Evans said.
“It’d be unlikely for next year. It’s something where we’d want to do a lot more work with clubs before we progressed it any further.”
The former Hawthorn football manager suggested there were no active plans to tighten the cap on rotations, which have been limited to 90 per game this season.
But he proposed a left-field idea that could revolutionise the interchange system.
“I’ve actually got an idea that we should trial – maybe in a pre-season game – whether we just interchange after goals,” Evans said.
“Incentivise goal-scoring and perhaps, maybe that gives us the more natural limit.”
The league is also closely monitoring the NRL’s video review bunker, which was introduced in 2016 and is intended to deliver faster and more accurate decisions.
In sharp contrast, camera angles used in the AFL’s goal-review system vary from venue to venue.
“It (the NRL bunker) is certainly an impressive setup and something that we’ll trial this year … (assessing) whether we can get the feeds back from some interstate venues,” Evans said.