Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury would like to see the AFL season and finals series extended and the pre-season cut back as the sport prepares to re-launch following its coronavirus-led shutdown.
With the AFL assessing the game’s future, Pendlebury said adjusting the balance of summer training to games would be his preferred change going forward.
“I’d love to, as a player, do a two-month pre-season and get to play more football,” said Pendlebury, who also favours a ‘wildcard’ round later in the season to add more excitement to the finals race.
“Whether that’s extending the season and (we) play everyone twice, or a few more games in the season, most players would rather play than do pre-season.
“I’m an advocate of extending the final series in any way we can because I think that’s the most exciting football of the year and fans seem to love it.”
The 2020 season has been cut to 17 games plus finals and Pendlebury said he is relishing the high-stakes mentality the shorter campaign will bring.
“It’s more exciting,” he said. “You probably can’t afford to lose a couple of games and (then) hit form (and) still find a way to finish in the top four or the top eight. Every game is going to be so, so crucial.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out – what sides do, how sides adjust pretty quickly if you have a couple of bad losses in a row. Whether they change the way they play.”
Collingwood’s return to training in groups of eight has delivered a setback, with Adam Treloar in doubt for round two after a calf strain.
Pendlebury expected most players to be wary of injuries as training ramps up ahead of the restart.
“Most guys across the whole competition, in the back of their mind there’d be a little bit of concern about how ready you are,” he said.
“But it’s not like one side got to train as a team the whole way through – we’re all in the same boat.”