Changes In The NAB Cup: Good or Bad for the AFL?

March 19, 2015

Recently the AFL announced five changes they will be implementing to the NAB Cup, in order to trial their permanent use in the actual season. Personally, good or bad, I’ve always thought trialling different ideas in the pre-season is a fantastic idea. The fact that such a old institution is acting progressive and constantly seeking ideas to improve our game is always going to be a good thing, and what better place to do that then in a season of football nobody cares about. So what are the changes coming in this weekend?

15-second shot clock
Good or Bad: Bad. Baaadddd.

The new 15-second shot clock rule will see at set shots umpires informing players when they have 15 seconds to kick. Sounds fine, except now a huge countdown clock will appear on the big screen. If players haven’t begun their approach by zero, it’s play on.

It’s logical why the AFL bring changes such as this one in. They’re always looking to increase the speed of the game, which isn’t exactly a bad thing. However it’s not the pacing that proves an issue here, it’s the utter distraction this new rule plagues on players. Set shots are worlds harder than anything else, due to the focus required on the expectation that you’re going to slot the oval through the middle. Miss it, and it looks worse on you than a measly snapshot on goal. So who thought it would be a great idea to now impose a gigantic ticking clock on top of this? Players would easily over think the kick and will only further bite away at the decreasing effectiveness of set shots over the years. Dispose of this as soon as possible, please.

Free kick explanations
Good or Bad: Good, with caution.

Starting this weekend when free kicks are replayed at the ground, the audio from umpires will accompany the replay so those at the ground understand why contentious decisions are made. This idea seems very similar to the NFL rule where the umpires use the break in play to announce the call for the stadium, however there’s no breaks in play such as that in AFL. But I get it, we already get the audio explanation on broadcast TV so why not extend that to everyone at the game as well? My only caution with this one, is the colourful language used by players when unhappy with a decision made against them. If they’re arguing right next to a live microphone on ground, it’s going to accrue a few language fines over the season.

Score review explanations
Good or Bad: Unbelievably good.

In the same way that the umpires’ decisions will be announced to the stadium in real time, so too will the score reviewers. What more can be said about the score review system? It literally needs all the help it can get. While they’re on it as well, how about looking into developing an actual system that allows for more accurate score reviews, instead of goal cameras operating at 10 frames per second?

Countdown clock for play
Good or Bad: Great!

Someone at AFL house has an obvious boner for ticking clocks, because starting this weekend at each break in play, another countdown clock will be shown to let fans know how long they’ve got to buy chips or visit the little boys room before play will resume. Unlike it’s uglier half however, this countdown clock is a great idea for fans to get a better idea of how long they have to shoot off without missing anything. Keep this bad boy throughout Season 2015 I say.

Roof positioning
Good or Bad: …….sure?

The western roof panel will be set at a different position for two matches to avoid glare. Great, if it’s been an issue for players, but nothing much to say about this one.

There’s the five changes, good and bad alike. Agree or disagree with any of them? Let us know in the comments.

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