Clarkson and the AFL held another behind closed doors meeting.
Clarkson and the AFL held another behind closed doors meeting.

Secret trial leading to AFL shake-up

ONE thing is clear after AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan's hosting of all 18 coaches at his house: there is genuine concern about the state of the game.

McLachlan's informal dinner meetings have become an annual opportunity for coaches to air their views and exchange ideas.

AFL footy boss Steve Hocking was in attendance on Monday night and his extensive fact-finding mission into the spectacle of the game was a hot topic.

Hocking is looking at ways the league can improve the look of the game, with easing congestion around the ball and increasing scoring being the key battlegrounds.

"I think there's a genuine concern about the fact that maybe there's not enough scoring happening in footy ... that people want to see more of that," Brisbane coach Chris Fagan told SEN radio.

"When you sit around a table like that, there are a million-and-one different ideas about how it can be done.

"Chris Scott and I were talking about an idea about shortening the game somewhat ... playing more games, but shortening them.

"And maybe even looking at the idea of not having interchange but going back to the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd man so the game opens up a little bit more quite naturally.

"That's one of the things we talked about, but there's lots of different ideas ... zones and things like that seem a little bit clunky and umpires have to umpire that."

Despite Fagan stating the idea of zones seem clunky, the reality is their inclusion could be closer than many expected.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson caused serious unrest among the coaching fraternity when he caught up with McLachlan for a secret coffee meeting, but today it was his club and the league who held a secret behind closed doors trial.

Using the bye week to their advantage, the Hawks held a training session on Saturday morning at Etihad Stadium with several key AFL officials in attendance, according to afl.com.au.

The inclusion of zones during the session is the first move showcasing the league is serious about clearing the current congestion issues.

Unfortunately for the league, the news of the secret session wasn't met with open arms as many fans slammed the potential change to the game.

It was reported the secretive session also included the last touch out of bounds rule along with teams being forced to play on from backward kicks.

With the leagues new "look of the game" committee only just taking effect, the game could be set to see sweeping changes from next season in an attempt to open up the contest which many believe will lead to more goals.

- with AAP.



RESCUE: Diehard bushwalker flown from remote track

Premium Content RESCUE: Diehard bushwalker flown from remote track

Man winched out from isolated nature reserve after activating emergency beacon

Coffs Harbour surfers out to slay on home breaks

Premium Content Coffs Harbour surfers out to slay on home breaks

Australian Open and Boardriders Battle come to town in weekend surfing fiesta

IN COURT: 6 people facing criminal court today

Premium Content IN COURT: 6 people facing criminal court today

Find out who's appearing in Grafton court today