On Ground Congestion Continues to Dog AFL in 2018

We often strive mightily to leave our work at the office, although it inevitably creeps in at precisely the most inopportune moment and reminds us that we have to stay abreast in order to keep food in our bellies and current feeding our computers, so we had no problem relating to some AFL players declaring that they did not watch other games because the games are not as interesting as they once were.

Melbourne Captain Nathan Jones was one of the ringleaders of this theory, saying that he has begun to stop watching the game from home, rather than sit through a low-scoring, limited action affair.

Jones should be grateful that he does not have to follow the NFL, which has so many stoppages that it sometimes seems a wonder than games do not conclude with scores tied at zero.

“The game is not in the best position or state it could be,” Jones said on Fox Footy’s On The Couch. “As far as watching — I use to be an avid watcher: Thursday night, Friday night, Sunday footy — had I played on Saturday, but now I feel like I’m turning games off it’s not as aesthetically pleasing.”

The big culprit, according to many, is the congestion around the stoppages that result in large packs of players concentrated around the ball during contests.

Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield said as much on the same show.

“It makes disposing of the ball really difficult,” Dangerfield said. “It’s not clean, it’s just running into a wall of numbers, constantly and you can hear when you’re playing those games when there’s not as big as a crowd, you can hear the frustration from the crowd, wanting the ball to move freely.”

Fixing an issue such as this may require some creative thinking and changes to the rules, but there is always a group that is entirely resistant to changes of any sort, but the AFL is apparently aware of the issue and has been for some time, as they have been trialing ways to reduce congestion, firstly experimentally with some of those in the 2018 AFLW fixture.