AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield believes it will be too taxing on players to return to full-length quarters next season, saying a minute more each term is probably the “sweet spot”.
The AFL reduced quarters from 20 minutes plus time on to 16 minutes plus time on this year to help accommodate for the tighter fixture squeeze.
Some games were played off just four days’ break, with teams forced to heavily rotate their players in a bid to avoid mass injuries.
The fixture squeeze will probably continue into next season.
And even though it might not be as bad as this year, Dangerfield says players should prepare themselves for more hub life.
Traditionalists would love to see quarter lengths return to normal, but Dangerfield feels it will be too soon for that to happen in 2021.
“We’re not going to get to January and all of a sudden COVID just disappears,” Dangerfield said.
“So I think it’s something that (the AFL) needs to be mindful of, that it’s still going to be around next year.
“So with the floating fixture how it worked this year where there were really short turnarounds, we need to be flexible.
“And I don’t think reverting to 20-minute quarters is going to help that, because it’s a big enough ask of our players as it is off 16-minute quarters to turn around and play in four or five days’ time.
“So I think there’s probably a sweet spot. Whether it’s a minute or so, that’s probably about right.”
List sizes are another massive talking point, with fringe players already fearing for their futures.
Dangerfield is hopeful the squad sizes won’t get cut by too much.
“As it sits now the list sizes are at 38 plus rookies. I wouldn’t expect it to change a huge amount,” Dangerfield said.
“There might be a subtle difference of a few players, but that’s still being worked through.
“Everyone would like (the decision) earlier, but given the intricacies of those negotiations (between the AFL and AFLPA), it’s still going to take some time.”
© AAP 2020