AFL clubs allowed scratch matches

AFL clubs will be allowed to organise scratch matches between themselves ahead of next week’s season reboot.

With AFL players barred from featuring in any second-tier competitions this season, it created concern about how fringe footballers would get match practice.

But AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking has confirmed players who miss out on the best 22 will be allowed to take part in match simulation sessions.

Clubs will only be allowed to schedule matches against opposition from other states due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Games will have to be held at AFL-approved venues like the MCG, Marvel Stadium, SCG and Gabba.

Where possible, scratch matches are likely to be played before or after an AFL fixture.

“This arrangement ensures we continue to support the health, wellbeing and motivation of non-selected players and allows clubs with the ability to provide non-selected players with match practice to ensure they are game-ready if required,” Hocking said.

Clubs will decide between themselves how many players are used in the matches and how long the games will go for.

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge previously said any scratch match would have to coincide with an AFL game due to football department cuts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If we can pull that off then the boys who miss out on a game will grab onto that bone that you throw them,” he said last month.

“Some of those opportunities might look like training with the opposition, which will be interesting … you’d be able to have some spirit in some 14 v 14 and reduced numbers type competitive games.

“It’s not going to be ideal, but I think the players will need it for a period of time. It’s just when you get into the back end of the 17-game season, whether it’s run its race.”





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