Sport AFL AFL wants to take AFLX concept to Hong Kong

AFL wants to take AFLX concept to Hong Kong

North Melbourne's Shaun Atley (left) and St Kilda's Jack Billings at the AFLX launch. Etihad Stadium Photo: AAP
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AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has forecast a mini-tournament in Hong Kong late next year using the new AFLX format.

The inaugural AFLX competition was launched on Tuesday and will be held in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney from February 15-17.

The 10-a-side format uses a smaller playing field and if it works, the AFL is keen to take the concept overseas.

“Let’s get through next week and have a look at it,” McLachlan said.

“But we’ve had (trouble) … taking our game internationally.

“Now this is not our traditional game, AFLX, but it has all best bits of it – the same goals, it’s the same rules generally.

“It means we can go to Hong Kong in November next year – not only with two clubs, we could take six clubs and take a mini-tournament.”

McLachlan said the original reason for AFLX was the shortage of ground availability, especially in eastern Sydney.

But he said it could solve the problem of adapting overseas facilities for the traditional AFL format, as has happened in Shanghai.

The AFL is also keen to see how AFLX can fit into the pre-season, which always attracts debate on how it should be structured.

“We’re 10 days away, there’s still so much unknown, but we have to try stuff,” McLachlan said

“It means we can get onto different ovals in NSW and internationally, in different spots.

“It’s a different format for a different audience … it feels right to have a look at it in February.

“It’s certainly a potential part of it (pre-season) going forward.”

At the launch, St Kilda star Jack Billings suggested some sort of State Of Origin during the pre-season.

“All the players would like it, we’d like it, football supporters would like it,” McLachlan said.

“It’s just hard to do.

“If you’re going to play State Of Origin, people will want to see it absolutely like it was.

“We’re such a big, tribal sport and the clubs are so powerful.”