Jordan de Goey of the Magpies.
Jordan de Goey of the Magpies.

Who's suffering most from shorter quarters?

ESSENDON star Conor McKenna's "positive" COVID-19 test has silenced the ill-informed push for the AFL to revert back to 20-minute quarters this season.

With the league needing to reschedule the postponed Essendon-Melbourne clash, possibly for a Wednesday night in July or August, clubs and fans now understand 16-minute quarters will be needed for short turnarounds.

But coaches are still figuring out exactly how reduced minutes have changed the game.

For ruckmen it was easy - shorter games resulted in job losses as the need for back-ups such as Toby Nankervis (Richmond) and Tom Hickey (West Coast) faded.

But which clubs and players will be left lamenting the lost minutes? Which teams land blows when their opponents fall weary and who hangs out for the siren?

A look at red time from 2018-19 suggests Geelong, Richmond and Hawthorn will all be seeing red this year.

The Cats have outscored opponents by a staggering 398 points in time-on in the past two years, even more than premier Richmond's 338.

Would longer quarters have helped Geelong break out of jail against Carlton on Saturday night?

Analyst David King wondered whether shorter quarters would count against the Tigers because they like to fatigue sides and then pile on the pain late.

There might be something to it. The Tigers looked like they'd run all over Collingwood in Round 2, however walked away with a draw having kicked the final three behinds of the game when the siren sounded after just 94 minutes.

Worryingly, the Tigers have endured three goalless quarters in the past two weeks after recording just eight in the previous 75 games.

Lance Franklin booted 24.22 in time-on from 2018-19.
Lance Franklin booted 24.22 in time-on from 2018-19.

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Despite winning only just 56.5 per cent of games in 2018-19, the Hawks surprisingly ranked third in red time after dominating opponents by 169 points in minutes that have mostly been sacrificed this year.

The Blues have been the worst club deep in first quarters (-120 points) and so the earlier siren this season should help reduce the damage of their poor starts.

One premiership contender on the wrong end of red-time was GWS - and that bodes as a positive in 2020.

The Giants have been outscored by 92 points in time-on of last quarters in the past two years although no club has been worse at running out games than youthful rival the Western Bulldogs (-93).

The shorter quarters were expected to boost the impact of ballistic stars such as Christian Petracca, Dustin Martin and Nic Naitanui.

They play at a high intensity that will be sustainable for longer in 2020.

Conversely, work engines such as Tom Mitchell (12.3 disposals) and Andrew Gaff (10.7) have won a lot of their ball in the lost minutes.

Jeremy Cameron is missing his time-on goals.
Jeremy Cameron is missing his time-on goals.

In 2018-19 there were, on average, 8.1 goals kicked per game in red time.

They will largely disappear this year, costing Channel 7 roughly two ad breaks per quarter, although this year's 60-second delay after majors should help the broadcaster cram a few more in.

Giants superstar Jeremy Cameron has been the red-time goalsquare king. In the past two years he has kicked 53.28 in time-on, which is 43 per cent of his total goals.

There would be filled with a healthy mix of junk-time and clutch goals as weary opponents trail off holding out for the siren.

This season Cameron has just five majors from three matches with teammate Harry Perryman on track to win the Coleman Medal with a projected 45 goals.

West Coast's Jack Darling has been ultra-reliable forward in minutes that won't be played this year.

Darling's impressive 37.8 is even sharper than Magpie Will Hoskin-Elliott's 30.8. Like Cameron, those boys seem to have a knack of arriving fashionably late in quarters.



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