SILVER balls and 10-point goals known as a ‘Zooper goal’ will be features of the AFLX tournament, which kicks off in Adelaide next Thursday.
The initiatives come as the AFL announced a sponsorship with Zooper Dooper, which will be the primary supporting partner of the tournament.
A 10-point ‘Zooper goal’ will be awarded to a player who kicks a goal on the full outside the 40m-arc, or from directly in front as a penalty for deliberate rushed behinds.
The 40m arc is consistent with the soccer-style field that will be adopted during AFLX.
The League launched AFLX on Tuesday, complete with a parachutist landing on a giant ‘X’ in the middle of Etihad Stadium.
CEO Gillon McLachlan said AFLX had been several years in the making and, based on the success of the tournament that kicks off next week, could be a way of taking Australia’s game to an international audience.
“We have had trouble taking our game internationally. This is not our traditional game, AFL X, but it’s got all the best bits of it,” McLachlan said.
"It means that we could go to Hong Kong in November next year not only with two clubs, but we could take six clubs and play a mini-tournament.
“To take our game and showcase all the best bits of it, and actually not have to build infrastructure like we did in Shanghai, for example, that presents a huge opportunity.”
However, McLachlan said the tournament that starts on February 15 at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide was still in its embryonic stage.
“It’s hard to measure. Everything that’s new you need to be realistic about. We’ll look at general interest and that comes through in ratings and crowds and the quality of play,” McLachlan said.
“We won’t have hard and fast metrics. We’ll be realistic because it’s new and it’s different, but we think this has an opportunity and I know the clubs and players are supportive.”
McLachlan said the origins of the AFLX idea were born out of the lack of AFL grounds available in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
With the success of AFLW and the flow-on effect at grassroots level in men’s and women’s competitions, McLachlan said the League would need to look closely at the availability of grounds.
He cited Ikon Park and Whitten Oval as examples of suburban grounds that needed improved infrastructure.
“I don’t think we need to build new grounds, it’ll be a bit of back to the future,” McLachlan said.
“We have an amazing network of suburban grounds but they probably need some investment.”