Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon has slammed the AFL’s decision to ring AFLW coaches to encourage a higher scoring and more free-flowing game.
It has been reported the AFL has warned coaches about using players behind the ball as a spare defender, a criticism of the Carlton v Collingwood season opener last Friday night.
There were no goals scored in the second half of the Blues and Pies contest, which caused last season’s concerns of minimal scores to be flagged once again.
However, Lyon has whacked the AFL’s call to tell coaches what to do, saying they can’t promote a professional league, and then dictate decisions made by clubs trying to win.
“Is this an exhibition game or, as we have been told repeatedly since AFLW came in, will we treat these women and this sport with the respect it deserves,” he told SEN Breakfast.
“They’re professional athletes, they’re competitors, they want to win and they’re dedicating themselves to the process.
“Coaches are then required to coach in a certain manner.
“If you want an attractive and high scoring game, legislate and take it out of the hands of the coaches.
“Coaches are going to be competitive.
“I agree it was ugly and that is a concern, but legislate.
“Don’t, after one round, go to the coaches and say hang on a minute, make it attractive.
“That isn’t their obligation.”
Lyon also believes the stance the AFL is taking puts the priority on scoring, as opposed to winning.
“You can’t come out and say you want a competitive game and a professional league, we have Daisy Pearce telling us how much it means to her, and you got girls sacrificing so much,” he said.
“Then you say, hey hey hey, don’t worry about winning, just make it look good.”
The dual Demons best-and-fairest winner is of the notion when push comes to shove on the game’s biggest stage, winning will always trump the optics of the occasion.
An example from the campaign’s opening round was also used to back up his point.
“Ten minutes into the last quarter of the Grand Final, what is the priority of the coaches?” Lyon said.
“I can put one or two behind the footy and we win the premiership, or, well no, we want it open and attractive, therefore I won’t.
“Fremantle were playing the Western Bulldogs on the weekend.
“The Dogs have kicked three or four goals, and rightfully so, Ben Dixon says Freo need to put one behind the ball.
“He was saying the coach wasn’t doing her job because she wasn’t putting players behind the ball.
“Where does it start and where does it end?”
Over the past couple of days, SEN footy experts Terry Wallace and David King have called out AFLW coaches for implementing highly defensive tactics.
In round one, four of the eight sides failed to score a goal in a half of footy, while Carlton, Collingwood, Adelaide and Fremantle did not reach 25 points in four quarters of football.
Listen to Garry Lyon, Tim Watson and Sam Edmund discuss the AFLW in the player below!
Originally published on SEN.com.au
SEN Breakfast with Garry Lyon & Tim Watson airs from 6am-9am from Monday-Friday on SEN 1116.