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AFL need for speed a worry, says Longmire

With a raft of AFL rule changes designed to boost speed, Sydney coach John Longmire is warning it may lead to more injuries.

AFL need for speed a worry, says Longmire

With a raft of AFL rule changes designed to boost speed, Sydney coach John Longmire is warning it may lead to more injuries.

Swans coach JOHN LONGMIRE looks on during the Sydney Swans AFL pre-season training session at Lakeside Oval in Sydney, Australia.
Swans coach JOHN LONGMIRE looks on during the Sydney Swans AFL pre-season training session at Lakeside Oval in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

Sydney coach John Lonmgire fears AFL players are reaching breaking point amid a need for speed.

Yet others reckon they will naturally adjust as tempo rises again with a raft of rule changes.


Many of the fresh laws for the looming season are designed to boost the speed of the game - players kicking-in can immediately play on, as can those receiving a 50-metre penalty.

But Longmire warns the faster game may put players at risk.

"The challenge is whether the players' bodies handle it," he said.

"When you play over such a long season, 23 weeks plus finals, and you look at the fact the games go for 120, 130 minutes and what they cover and the intensity that they play, I think we've just got to be mindful of that.

"And anything we do in regards to the rule changes should be mindful that we want our best players playing week-in, week-out,

"We have certainly noticed over the last couple of years that injuries over the course of the season really add up and across the competition as well, and I don't think that is going to get any less."

Adelaide's Don Pyke forecast games will be more transitional, feature more end-to-end footy.

"So it's going to be interesting what impact that has and whether or not players can sustain that level or whether or not the game will naturally have to slow for a period," he said.

"I don't know."

Pyke's Port Adelaide counterpart Ken Hinkley was equally uncertain.

"We always say we have reached breaking point - I don't know," he said.

"There is a point where you stop but the game always gives you challenges.

"Your challenge is you have got to be able to defend speed - it's alright to be able to play with speed but you have got to be able to defend speed."

GWS coach Leon Cameron noted what he called the big-picture.

"People like ... the spectacle of having a fast ball moving from one end of the ground to the other," he said.

"There's no doubt that is an attraction for the supporter and an attraction for the TV rights."

But is the game actually approaching full tilt?

"Games can always get faster," said Brisbane's Chris Fagan.

"That's what the human race does, it just continues to improve. I think those new rule changes will benefit that.

"If a 50-metre penalty is awarded you can just take off now and that really challenges defences.

"The kick-in rule, with a little bit more space and not having to kick to yourself any more, that may well do the same thing."

AAP


AAP




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