<p></p><blockquote class="ipsBlockquote">Richmond legend Kevin Bartlett blasts AFL Commission, accusing it of knowing â€œstuff allâ€ about game
- Mark Robinson
- Herald Sun
- April 08, 2014 10:00PM
AFL great Kevin Bartlett has launched a savage attack on the AFL Commission, accusing it of knowing â€œstuff allâ€ about the game.
Pushing yet again for a reduction in interchange rotations, Bartlett warned that soccer â€œwill kill‘‘ Australian Rules within 20 years unless the commission acted to rid the game of rolling mauls and the chip-chip, kicking backwards, possession style of football.
Bartlett said he wrote to the AFL Commission last year as part of the charter to determine what Australian Rules was as a sport, and what aspects of the sport should be protected, but says his letter was not acknowledged, nor does he know if it was read by anyone at the AFL.
â€œI don‘t have any faith in the AFL Commission, I don‘t think they have any idea about the game,‘‘ Bartlett said.
â€œThey might be captains of industry, they might know how to run Woolworths or a Bunnings, tell you about finances and what to buy on the stock exchange, but I reckon they know stuff all about footy.
â€œI wrote to the AFL Commission, I said you must ask the philosophical question, what is Australian Rules?
â€œSoccer is going to grow and get bigger and bigger.
â€œThink 20, 25 years down the track, if you don‘t have a point of difference, if you have a rolling maul of players running around the ground, then soccer will kill Australian rules football.
â€œSoccer could destroy AFL within 25 years..
â€œAnd that‘s where the AFL commission must look at a game and say that‘s not Australian rules football?
The nine-person league commission comprises chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, chief executive Andrew Demetriou, Paul Bassat, Linda Dessau, Richard Goyder, Bill Kelty, Chris Langford, Sam Mostyn and Kim Williams, who was formerly chief executive of NewsCorp.
Bartlett stepped down from the AFL laws of the game committee last month, clearly disillusioned with the direction of the commission.
The laws of the game recommended a limitation of 80 rotations this season, but the commission dismissed the recommendation and set it at 120, with added rotations after each quarter, which amounted to be about 130 rotations anyway.
Bartlett accepts he will be criticised for his stance and will continue to argue to protect the â€œessence of the game‘‘.
Bartlett‘s outburst yesterday came after Fox Footy commentator Gerard Healy lamented on Monday night about the death of the full-forward, an argument Barltett supported totally.
He said the game was now based around keepings off.
â€œMelbourne lost to West Coast and at one stage it was 100 points to nine, but Melbourne had more possessions than West Coast,‘‘ he said.
â€œA contest within a contest doesn‘t exist in the AFL game.‘‘
As for full-forwards, Bartlett said Riewoldt would‘ve been an even greater superstar if he had played the 1980s or 1990s.
â€œCould you imagine. Riewoldt just running his opponent into the ground, finding space ... but now when he runs them into the ground, five fresh players run back with him.‘‘
Bartlett‘s letter, one of several written to the AFL by members of the laws of the game committee, talks of the importance of keeping AFL Rules a â€˜‘unique Australian game‘‘.
â€œWho read it, where it went, I‘ve got no idea whatsoever,‘‘ Bartlett said.
Edited extract from Kevin Bartlett‘s letter to the AFL
â€”We should be proud of the game‘s heritage. Its characteristics of 18 versus 18 was the cornerstone of the game. Player versus player within a team structure created contest between individuals.
--The true essence of the game is being destroyed by a cancer called interchange.
--Players now all form together in nooks and crannies of the vast ground, in rolling mauls of high player density. Position and positional play are lost in player density.
--Interchange has created a new game of Australian Rules, a hybrid game of soccer tactics, rugby union mauls, rugby league tackling counts, basketball presses and ice hockey high interchange rotations.
--Aesthetically, the game has become one mass of moving players.