Debut of AFLX meets widespread approval by players and coaches

Debut of AFLX meets widespread approval by players and coaches
Hindmarsh Stadium, South Australia. Photo by Trentino Priori via Wikimedia Commons

The new spin-off of AFL named ‘AFLX’ has gotten off to a good start with coaches, players and fans all singing its praises. This new take on Australian football uses a rectangular field and a change of rules to bring a breath of fresh air to an age old sport.

This inaugural match between Geelong and Freemantle teams was hosted at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide on Thursday night as the first of 6 planned matches of ALFX set for the AFL’s 2018 pre-season.  The match was universally hailed as a triumph by those in attendance and watching from home.

The experiment of AFLX is set to be a surprising success as fans old and new are drawn to the new game’s fast point scoring format. While met with scepticism from many in the AFL community it’s safe to say that many of them are pleasantly surprised by Thursday night’s game.

Fans enjoyed the spectacle while players expressed their love for the change up in play. Coaches welcomed the new wave of interest in the sport that AFLX is starting to generate.

There were roughly 10,253 fans in attendance at AFLX’s first game. Chris Scott, the coach for Geelong, expressed how impressed he was with how the game went.

Scott revealed that he thought the new format was not only appealing to long-time footy fans but would be a great way to renew interest in children about Australian Rules football. He said that the club “really supports the concept”.

Scott went on to say that he thought the game not only had a “good chance at the top level” but was likely to be successful “at the amateur level” as well as overseas.  He expressed that he shared a view with many other coaches that traditional AFL, with a large field and 18 players, wasn’t ideal for children to begin with.

Scott said that he thought the new format was a great way for fans and future players to learn the fundamentals of footy in an approachable way. When asked about those who have shunned AFLX for its flashy marketing and LED goal posts, Scott simply said “too bad”.

Scott compared negative comments about AFLX with those spoken of Twenty20 cricket which he said was “succeeding in spite of them”. Scott is not alone in his views with many other coaches warming up to AFLX despite disapproval from traditionalists.

The players on the day revealed how much they enjoyed the new format, citing the fast paced nature of the game being a welcome challenge. Acting captain for Freemantle, Michel Walters, said it was “a fun game” and that it mixed the need to play as a team and individually.