How key AFL figures would improve the game

Michael Ramsey

HOW KEY AFL FIGURES WOULD IMPROVE THE GAME:

* NATHAN BUCKLEY: The Collingwood coach has prescribed the radical move of eliminating prior opportunity as a way to reduce congestion around the ball. Buckley reckons such a move would encourage players to clear the ball quickly from hot spots and open up the game. Geelong counterpart Chris Scott is firmly opposed, suggesting it would lead to "500 free kicks a game".

* ALASTAIR CLARKSON: Clarkson's position is similar to Buckley's in that he wants greater reward for tacklers. But the Hawthorn coach believes the key is cracking down on incorrect disposals by hand - something teams including Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs have been accused of exploiting. Clarkson says greater policing might also reduce the number of player concussions.

* CHRIS SCOTT: Geelong's long-serving coach is a fan of reducing the number of players on the ground to 16 a side, with six on the interchange, on the basis that fewer players on the ground should mean less congestion. The AFL is believed to have overseen 16-a-side practice matches, although it's unclear whether football boss Steve Hocking is as keen on the idea as his predecessor Mark Evans.

* LEIGH MATTHEWS: The AFL legend reckons there should be starting positions at centre bounces with six defenders, six midfielders and six forwards. The idea would certainly have an impact, given there is a strong tendency in the modern game for teams to play a spare man in defence or to have players streaming towards the centre square at the bounce. But it wouldn't address congestion at other stoppages and in general play.

* NICK RIEWOLDT: The retired St Kilda champion is among the biggest supporters of slashing interchange rotations from 90. A running machine in his day, Riewoldt would be happy to see as few as 40 rotations per game. But influential figures such as Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield are opposed to the idea, while North Melbourne coach Brad Scott believes it would increase the risk of player injuries.