North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell is adamant that reduced rotations in an AFL game will over time shorten a player’s career.
Mike Fitzpatrick, former AFL Commissioner who resigned on Wednesday, made mention that his one regret was not reducing the interchange cap further during his time in charge. Ziebell told SEN’s The Run Home the impact of lower rotation allowance would be career-threatening.
“I think it would have a huge influence on games and I think it would have a huge influence on careers,” He said.
“The game of AFL Footy is one of the most demanding physically in the world and it’s hard enough now with 80 rotations.
“If you bring that down 30 or 40 the physical demands would be enormous.
“Imagine if You’ve reached your interchange cap and a guy is out there injured and has to stick it out for another 10 minutes. It wouldn’t be good for anyone’s body.”
Ziebell, 25, is accepting of the current cap of 80 rotations given the demanding speed of the game, but even that is pushing it.
Cutting the interchange cap does not simply just mean players have less rotations. The effect digs much deeper than that, to the point where teams would have to prepare for games/seasons far differently compared to today.
In a nutshell, less rotations means a different kind of AFL, disadvantaging clubs who have built a list to comply with the current rules.
“The way teams would prepare for that would definitely change scientifically in terms of pre-season training and what type of energy systems you’d have to target for that as well,” Ziebell said.
“It’s all in the data. If you look at a lot of the scientific data we’ve got at the minute, and the pace the game is played at these days, by reducing rotations the pace of the game would fall and it’s on of the great aspects of the game the way the ball flies around so quickly.
“That’s what spectators love to see.
“With more fatigue skill level drops and we’d see the quality of games diminish.”
North Melbourne are set for a tough 2017 season after losing seven of their last eight games last year and only managing to qualify for finals by percentage.
They open their 2017 account on Sunday when they take on last year’s runner-up Sydney at Coffs Harbour in the JLT Community Series.