Hardwick wants VFL rules trial scrapped

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Three-time Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick has thrown his weight behind calls for the AFL to scrap experimental anti-density rules in its second-tier competition.

New rules in the VFL have been a hotly debated topic in practice matches, with David Teague, Luke Beveridge and David Noble among the senior coaches to have criticised the move.

At boundary throw-ins and kick-ins, three players from each team are now required to be inside each 50m arc, including one in the goal square.

The rules are designed to open up play and reduce congestion, while promoting one-on-one contests in traditional field positions.

But they have also resulted in players running fewer kilometres than they would at AFL level.

Hardwick is hopeful the rules will be scrapped before the VFL home-and-away season begins on April 16, describing the disparity between the AFL and second-tier competition as the "biggest challenge" facing coaches right now.

"It's hard to prepare the players under the rules that they're playing at the moment at the lower level," Hardwick said.

"It's really challenging. I hope common sense will prevail.

"At the moment it's taking guys 18 seconds to readjust into their forward half, so the GPS results are so (different) from what is required at AFL level.

"Something has to change."

Hardwick's comments came a few days after Western Bulldogs coach Beveridge said the rules will stunt the development of young players, while Noble also gave them the thumbs down.

The North Melbourne coach said three free kicks were paid against his side in a recent VFL scratch match, one of which he could not work out.

"It takes too long to reset and it changes the roles that we're looking for our players to play coming into the AFL," Noble said on Thursday.

"I was involved in the trial when the AFL came up a couple of years ago to Brisbane when we had three in the front half. That actually made sense.

"But pushing one back to the goal square from a D50 (stoppage) just didn't make sense for me.

"I understand trying to 'de-densify' numbers, I'm not against that, but the length that we actually had to take ... it needs a lot more discussion before it gets put in."