Shane Warne has sparked debate about the state of the game of AFL, declaring the league needs to “make football great again” when it returns from the coronavirus shutdown.
The Aussie legend, who played for St Kilda at Under-19 level before making his name in cricket, took to Twitter on Wednesday to bemoan today’s AFL compared to the past.
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Warne has been watching Fox Footy’s 50 greatest games and reckons the product was way better 30 years ago.
“The 89 grand final was the best GF of all time - FACT,” the diehard Saints fan wrote.
“Anyone doubting that is just being silly and absurd as it had everything.
“After watching the top 50 games - the AFL has a chance to make football great again, please make those changes for when footy resumes!”
#foxfootylive The 89 Grand final was the best GF of all time - FACT. Anyone doubting that is just being silly and absurd as it had everything. After watching the top 50 games - the #AFL has a chance to make football great again, please make those changes for when footy resumes !
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) April 15, 2020
Hawthorn won that decider in 1989, beating Geelong 21.18 (144) to 21.12 (138) as Gary Ablett kicked nine goals.
The 80s and 90s witnessed countless high-scoring matches of similar quality, and Warne reckons today’s game has lost that free-flowing style of footy.
His comments follow similar criticism from high-profile figures in recent years that the game has become too congested, with way more emphasis on pressure around the ball producing a poorer product.
Chris Scott disagrees with Warne’s sentiments
However not everyone agrees with Warne.
Geelong coach Chris Scott was asked about the state of the game on Wednesday night.
“It was certainly a different game and I’ve got to be honest, and I’ll get shot down for this by most I assume, but I watch the old games, even the ones I played in, and I don’t think they’re a patch on today’s footy,” the Brisbane premiership winner said on Fox Footy.
“But I guess I look at different things. I don’t necessarily equate high scoring with good footy.
“The skills of today’s players put most of the guys that I played with well and truly in the shadows.”
Former Port Adelaide player Kane Cornes agreed today’s game is better, as did many fans in response to Warne’s tweet.
— Kane Cornes (@kanecornes) April 15, 2020
Poor take. I preferred to watch the two games that followed on Sunday far better. 89 they laid about 10 tackles between the two sides. 2018 gf was a cracker.
— Tom Madigan (@tommadigan1) April 15, 2020
Sorry Shane I disagree. A brutal game yes. A great game absolutely. The 2 games that finished higher were also hard and tough & skillful just minus the illegal hits. Peace.
— Bevan (@BevanMoore14) April 15, 2020
Good for the times. But absolute thuggery. We can't go back to that.
— Ben Jammin (@bjcrooks) April 15, 2020
😂😂😂😂 fact? No, that’s an opinion Shane
— Scott Donald (@scottdonald75) April 15, 2020