The Dire State Of The Game

With only two games to go to finish the season, a quick look at the ladder shows Geelong as the highest scoring team for the season.

I know that game times have been reduced this year (by 20%?) but that cannot explain the disturbing downward trend of scoring right across the competition.

Geelong have scored 1233 points at an average on 72.5 points per game (goes up to 87 ppg with the extra 20% game time added back in).

Adelaide, the lowest scoring team (allowing for Fremantle to score more than 4 points in their final game) scored 826 points at an average of 48.6 points per game (up to 58.3ppg if you add the extra 20% game time).

I’m not sure if the blame lies with defensive coaching, too much AFL intervention or even just general poor skills across the competition but I do now that if this trend keeps up, more and more fans will turn away from the game.

Sure, there have been some cracking games over the years with low scoring…but most of the greatest games have scored higher than 12-14 goals for the winning team.

Something desperately needs to be done (but I don’t know what) to increase scoring again so that the game becomes a better viewing experience again.

(NB: and I don’t want the AFL stuffing around with ■■■■■ rule changes)


I’d revert back to normal length of games.
If they still want to get 2 games every 5-6 day scheduling, so be it. Teams need to work to it.

The reason why scoring is low is because by the time teams get on a good run, the siren goes and it gives the opposition some time to stem the flow.
Also, defence is king, so teams don’t attack as much. Trying more to hold teams back, then break out later on in the game.

The other factor is the Gabba and Metricon surface and humidity in Queensland cause crappy game style.

The biggest factor as well is the crowds. I genuinely think that crowds can help teams gain momentum and be emotionally helpful to players (and fans at home). I think once you see and hear a full MCG crowd, we’ll get a higher standard of games.

Looking at other sports without crowds, they all lack that emotional attachment. Tennis definitely doesn’t have the same impact. NFL doesn’t either (although I think their crowd sounds seem okay). The NBA with the screens of fans looks great and I think the players have gotten used to it by now.

(goes up to 87 ppg with the extra 20% game time added back in)

Gotta add 25% (16 is 80% of 20, 20 is 125% of 16). Scoring is still meaningfully down, but I’d wait to see if it’s just a covid blip. Everything was pretty weird this year and it must have had an effect. The AFL seems to think fatigue = freer flowing footy (that’s how they justified the interchange cap, wasn’t it?), but I’ve always been sceptical of that. And despite the shorter games, the compressed fixture must have left teams pretty tired pretty often.

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16 minute quarters has ■■■■■■ me off proper and now they are going to make them 18 minutes.

i cant say LEAVE THE GAME ALONE enough. They continuously want to speed the game up and this season has been a direct result of that BS. There have been so many ■■■■ low scoring, flooding games where it takes 3 quarters for teams to find space.

The game being quite long compared to others has been a staple and a unique characteristic of our game, endurance is huge in AFL! now theyve taken away 16 minutes plus time on and it hasnt made the game any better has it?


I love Telegraph Road.


Alchemy for mine.
Seeing the artwork in person in Sydney is pretty cool, too. Highly recommend.

As for the state of the game, I’d just get rid of GWS and GC and have a 32 player special draft before the National draft.


I don’t think I realized just how much scoring happens late in quarters and in games until this year.

I guess tired players makes for more open games.

Maybe 18 on the ground is too many anyway.

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Careful…you’re starting to sound like an AFL flunky


I say the same thing every time people bring this up, and the AFL never seem to understand.

The defensive side of the game simply isn’t gonna go away no matter how much they tinker with the rules.
the only way is if they turn it into a netball type game and have zones, which would alter the game beyond recognition.

Instead of punishing teams to try and make them not use almost the best tactical aspect of the game (defensive setups) start creating a game where scoring more is rewarded.
maybe create a bonus points system where if you score over x amount or kick a certain amount of goals, you get 1 or 2 bonus points, whether you win or lose.

the more the afl tried to punish the game cos it’s too “defensive” and try and implement changes to counteract it, the more coaches will clamp down and make it worse, because it’s again an effect tactic.

Honestly I wish they’d just get the umpiring right. That would probably fix 80 percent of it.


Announce a moratorium on rule changes and interpretation changes for five years.

Coaches will always always always work on defence under any new rules before they add attacking strategy, usually a season or two later. Every rule change resets the clock.

Under my idea the “state of the game” will have sorted itself out by halfway through year two.


That sounds like quite a good idea…the AFL will never do it though :frowning:

well yes that would require patience

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I agree. If they called more free kicks for holding the ball in particular, there’d be far less scrabbling on the ground for the ball, less rolling mauls. Pay the free kick let someone e get the ball back in play.

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Problem here is that scoring depends a lot on conditions. Docklands tenants would be advantaged, and imagine how frustrating it would be when a team misses out on their chance to sneak into the 8 because the last week of the season is rainy. Or worse, one team leapfrogs another because it is dry on saturday and wet on sunday.

The last thing l want to see is the AFaiL messing with the scoring system. Leave the game alone and teams will work out better ways to score.

Multiball is the only thing that will save this sport.


I’m not sure paying more holding the ball decisions helps. Players would be reluctant to take possession or try to break a tackle. The result would be the Richmond style of just knocking the ball forward at every opportunity. It would get uglier. The game is opened up by players breaking tackles and then the run that follows. Perversely we penalise this type of play if it’s not perfect.

On the other hand paying more free kicks to forwards who are held, scragged and atms chopped would result in lots more goals.

I’m talking about the ones where they are holding the ball. Prior opportunity the whole nine yards. Pay the first one rather than the tenth. As it is now, possession, tackle, the ball spills free someone tries to pick it up, five players fight over it for a while, someone grabs it takes two steps, tackle, wait, ball spills free rinse and repeat. After this happens five or six times the umpire pays one. It’s not consistent, it’s not good umpiring, it’s not good football, it’s not good to watch. Pay the first one and clear the area.

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The whole holding the ball rule is so open ended that no matter what decision the umpire makes they’ve got their butts covered.

Firstly, with no prior you don’t have to dispose of the ball correctly as long as you make a genuine attempt. The interpretation of a genuine attempt is all over the shop. One could say that Petracca’s non holding the ball was a genuine attempt and hence why it didn’t get paid. Yet the football world thought it should have been called as a free.

The 2nd one and this one irks me the most, is knocked out in the tackle. How many times do you see someone like Selwood take a few steps, get tackled from behind and just let go of the ball and it’s called knocked out? Yet it can happen to someone else in the very next play and it is called holding the ball. They need to give that rule the flick. It is a massive bugbear of mine.

And sorry Swoods, it in no way impacts the scoring but I just needed to vent.

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