Sydney coach John Longmire has labelled suggestions AFL gameplay will improve because of forced cuts to football departments as “naive”.
The competition’s 18 clubs have been told to cap staff numbers at 24 as the AFL reels from the financial implications of the COVID-19 shutdown.
All teams will be required to have a doctor, player development manager and psychologist as part of their set-up.
Clubs stood down the majority of their staff when football was suspended in March, and the reduced numbers could become permanent.
Several ex-players, including Essendon goal-kicking great Matthew Lloyd, believe the AFL has become overly defensive and less coaches could allow for a more attacking product.
But Longmire said anyone who thought the AFL would be better off with reduced football departments was clueless.
“I think that’s a very naive comment to make,” the 2012 premiership coach told SEN.
“If you look at what football departments are about, they’re not essentially about just game plans and tactics and stopping scoring, that’s one part of it.
“The biggest part is the care and support and development of the people in your football department, most specifically the players and you have to say that’s the best it’s ever been.
“It’s not just the psychologists or the welfare person’s job to do that.
“I think if any of us had kids who were good enough to play AFL, you’d love to have them in an AFL environment because it’s about maximising those people on and off the ground.”
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley thinks the AFL is better now than when he played during the 1980s and 1990s.
“I don’t mind the game being played quite explosively, it’s good for the supporters to watch,” he said.