Main content

An eventful day for Chris Fagan

Scrapping the interchange bench and playing more, shorter games across the season was one of the ideas floated at Monday night's informal coaches' dinner in Melbourne, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan says

Coaches met at AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan's house after participating in Neale Daniher's Big Freeze 4 for MND research at the Queen's Birthday Melbourne-Collingwood clash at the MCG.

Also in attendance at the dinner were football operations manager Steve Hocking and League general counsel Andrew Dillon.

Fagan said the discussion flowed with no set agenda, with the issue of reducing congestion in games and boosting scoring popular topics.

"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," Fagan told SEN on Tuesday morning.

"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 and 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, because the players won't be able to run as much as they can currently with 80-odd rotations.

"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, umpires have to umpire that.

"It will all come out in the course of time, I suppose. Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe it's too hard."

Fagan said altering the existing draft and trade model "to more effectively help equalise the competition" was also discussed.

Lions great Jonathan Brown suggested on Fox Footy on Monday night that struggling Gold Coast needed special concessions for its list build so it could "start again".

While Fagan said the other clubs wouldn't be keen on such an approach, he conceded Brown was on the right track and that both Queensland clubs needed extra help on list management.

"The Queensland market is quite a unique market and it is not an easy place to attract players to come to," he said.

"Free agency doesn't necessarily help a Gold Coast Suns or a Brisbane Lions, because players in a sense, a lot of them would rather play in the footy states – South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria.

"I think it would be good for at least the AFL to look at Queensland footy in a slightly different way and provide some help where possible, whether that be through priority picks in the draft or some other way."

Fagan will have scans on the hamstring he injured when getting out of the Big Freeze ice pool on Tuesday afternoon.

"I couldn't get one yesterday because of the public holiday. I'm pretty sore this morning, so I'm hopeful it's not that bad, but there's a chance that it is," he said.

"It felt worse than any hamstring I've ever done in my life. 

"There is every chance I might be following the trend and sitting on the bench for a few games.

"There was a lot of laughter at my expense, but it was pretty funny when you look at it."

The Lions have a bye this week and don't play again until they face the Giants on June 23.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs