AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh has put his support behind a potential shut-down period for players and coaches across the month of December.
The idea would see players and coaches given the entire month off to refresh and Marsh told Sportsday it’s an idea AFL Head of Football Operations Steve Hocking approached him with.
“He (Hocking) floated this idea and it was pretty well received by the players, but it wasn’t just about the players it was about the coaches,” Marsh said on Sportsday.
“The industry is pretty full on for 12 months of the year, so if we did have a shut-down I think that would be a positive, I guess we’ve just got to work through the details of what that looks like.”
The AFL’s increasing awareness around mental health issues in the game has also played into these discussions.
“Everyone’s pretty receptive to it for (mental health) reasons,” Marsh said.
“If we’re going to shut down, we’ve got to shut down properly and give everyone a mental break and then get back into it in January.
“I’m sure clubs and coaches will be looking at what it means and how they’re going to get the right conditioning into (players), but that one’s a positive one and I think it’s something we should be exploring.”
The AFL rejigged the preseason this year with the usual third JLT Series game replaced by the AFLX tournament and Marsh said he’d like more information on where the practice games are going.
“Two JLT games seemed to work. We’d obviously like to know what the bigger picture is around AFLX going forward,” Marsh said.
“I think the players are pretty comfortable with the format for this year by and large.”