After months of publicity, footy fans finally get a chance to see if AFLX lives up to the hype on February 15, 16 and 17.
All of the AFL’s 18 teams will play at least two matches over three round-robin days of action in small-sided games played on fields roughly the same size as soccer pitches.
“Children and younger people have less time now, and are interested in sports that are shorter in time, faster and higher scoring,” the AFL’s project manager for AFLX, David Stevenson, told the Australian Financial Review when quizzed about the concept.
Big scores are expected in AFLX, which could transform into something more regular if the initial weekend is successful.
AFLX is seen as Australian Rules’ push into the market of abbreviated formats like Twenty20 cricket, Rugby Sevens and Fast 4 Tennis.
What is AFLX?
According to the AFL, it is “a new and different version of Australian Football and has been designed to take the traditional game from oval grounds to rectangular fields.
“AFLX will still contain and showcase the unique and most thrilling aspects of Australian Football in a shortened format, with seven players on the field and three on the bench.
“The X in AFLX relates to the roman numeral character for the number ten which is a constant throughout the alternative version of the game.”
Ten quick facts about AFLX
- Played on a rectangular field (approximately 70m width x 110m length) with four posts at each end (as per a normal AFL field). Ground markings will showcase X as the centre square and 40m arcs.
- Two field umpires, two boundary umpires and one goal umpire at each end of the ground.
- Ten players per team, seven on field at all times and three on the interchange bench. No restrictions on player rotations.
- 10-minute quarters or halves depending on the tournament format.
- Free kick against for last touch out of bounds.
- Kick-ins from behind the goal line after all scorers.
- No marks paid for backwards kicks (except in forward 40m area).
- Quarters commence with a ‘ball up’ in the centre and at least two players from each team starting inside the 40m arc.
- Free shot from forward 40m arc, directly in front, for deliberate rushed behinds.
- ‘Zooper Goals’, worth 10 points, will be awarded when goals are kicked on the full from outside the 40m arc.
Thursday February 15, Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
6.40pm (AEDT) – Port Adelaide v Geelong (Pool A)
7.08pm – Adelaide v Collingwood (Pool B)
7.36pm – Geelong v Fremantle (Pool A)
8.04pm – West Coast v Adelaide (Pool B)
8.32pm – Fremantle v Port Adelaide (Pool A)
9.00pm – Collingwood v West Coast (Pool B)
9.33pm – Final: Winner of Pool A v Winner of Pool B
Friday February 16, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
7.10pm (AEDT) – Carlton v Melbourne (Pool A)
7.38pm – Hawthorn v Essendon (Pool B)
8.06pm – North Melbourne v Carlton (Pool A)
8.34pm – Essendon v St Kilda (Pool B)
9.02pm – Melbourne v North Melbourne (Pool A)
9.30pm – St Kilda v Hawthorn (Pool B)
10.03pm – Final: Winner of Pool A v Winner of Pool B
Saturday February 17, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
4.10pm (AEDT) – Greater Western Sydney v Richmond (Pool A)
4.38pm – Sydney v Western Bulldogs (Pool B)
5.06pm – Richmond v Brisbane (Pool A)
5.34pm – Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast (Pool B)
6.02pm – Brisbane v Greater Western Sydney (Pool A)
6.30pm – Gold Coast v Sydney (Pool B)
7.03pm – Final: Winner of Pool A v Winner of Pool B
Both the Seven Network (via 7TWO) and Fox Footy will telecast the AFLX tournament.