Bench increase unlikely for R2: AFL boss

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has said an increase to interchange bench numbers is unlikely before next month’s season restart.

The AFL has been weighing up adding one or two additional interchange players, potentially increasing match day team lists to 24.

Normally capped at four interchange players, several coaches have led calls for that limit to be increased to six.

But McLachlan says extended benches are not in the mix for the start of round two on June 11 – although they could be introduced later in the season.

“We’re staying flexible,” he told 3AW on Friday. “If we need, we’re going to be agile.

“There’s an acceptance from the supporters and the clubs and others that if we need to (we might), because we need to compress games at the end of the year.

“But at the moment, with reduced quarters, we don’t need (bigger benches).”

Quarters have been reduced to 16 minutes plus time-on for the remainder of the 2020 campaign, with debate raging over whether the change should remain in place beyond this year.

But McLachlan all but ruled out shortened quarters carrying over into 2021.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “The 20 minutes to 16 is for the flexibility we need to get through this season.

“It’s not something that we’re contemplating for next year.”

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