With the upcoming bye for the May Racing Carnival just around the corner, a number of teams will no doubt be hoping to get through this weekend unscathed and past the bye with plenty of key personnel ready to return for round five.
Injury has decimated clubs of their key players in the opening three rounds and quite often sides are finishing their matches with minimal or no rotations and with numerous blokes sore from the long lay-off.
With the recent spate of bad luck on the injury front, one opposition coach even mentioned why the league does not play with 22 players at senior level and in fairness, when you give it further consideration it’s an argument that has merit.
Having 22 in your team line-up would be a luxury for coaches and would alleviate a number of things, if it were to be brought in.
For example, if clubs were hit with injuries early in games, the extra rotation could still prove valuable to those sides, who can manage the lower rotations available, to use it effectively.
Another strong argument for its introduction would mean those players on the fringe in the lower grades would have greater opportunity to get a game, which would hopefully offer more enticement for reserve and under 18.5 players to push for senior selection.
It would also make it easier for clubs with VFL/NAB League players to transition back and forth, but mostly for those returning back to the league – it’s hard for sides to bring in two, three, four VFL/NAB League players at a time when there is only 21 spots available, but if you had 22 positions, it would allow coaches greater opportunity to showcase the area’s best youth, which is only positive for the league.
From a playing point of view, the extra rotation available can also be a godsend for those who need a quick blow during the game – most clubs plan their rotations, but having that extra one available to utilise would only strengthen teams and provide them the chance to sustain their legs for longer.
On the downside, it would mean clubs may need to find an extra player to potentially fill a reserves side, which for some is already a tough task, and it may also stretch some clubs in terms of player points and the salary cap, but similar to my article last week, a little research into this area wouldn’t hurt as it could be another vital addition for the league, its clubs, coaches and players.
Author: Fraser Lucas