Kane Cornes fears that the AFL’s elder statesmen are set to be "chewed up and spat out" because of inevitable changes to the game.
Footy as we know it is unlikely to return anytime soon due to the coronavirus crisis which currently has the 2020 season postponed until at least the end of May.
The financial implications of the pandemic will be fairly significant with the likelihood of salary cap and soft cap money dwindling drastically which will subsequently reduce the size of playing lists, among other alterations.
Port Adelaide’s games record holder Cornes has concerns that the league’s experienced brigade will be hit hardest by these expected changes.
“It’s unconfirmed, but the talk is list sizes are currently 44 if you use all available list spots. I’m hearing 35, 36 and potentially further cuts in the future,” Cornes said on SEN SA Breakfast.
“I feel sad about it. If you do the numbers, and you say eight players across 18 teams are gone, just gone. Then you add in more draftees, there’s an extra three. So we are looking at about 11-12 players per club in the space of six months – gone.
“There’s over 200 job losses in the space of six months, and I don’t like it.”
Cornes feels that the likely nature of footy being cut shorter in length and becoming more dynamic as a result will have a lasting impact on those players entering their twilight years.
“This is my theory: It’s quickly going to become a young person’s game, AFL,” he added.
“If you’ve only got 30 on your list – and that’s the number they might get it down to – you’re just not going to get the Shaun Burgoynes playing into their mid-30s.
“If it’s a short, powerful, dynamic game, with shorter quarters and shorter lists, they’re going to get rid of you and discard you by the time you are 30.
“It’s quickly going to become like it is in the NFL – a game for between the ages of 20 and 28.
“We are just not going to get the romantic situation where you’ve got a Travis Boak going on to play 320 or 350 games, or a Boomer Harvey playing 400 because they’ll continually want to bring in new players into the system because there’s not the spots to be able to carry these veterans.
“I’m worried about that because I love the romance of what Shaun Burgoyne has done, what Dustin Fletcher has done, what Michael Tuck did back in the 80s and 90s. I want to see players play for as long they can and they were extending their careers because of how professional they’ve got and the facilities.
“Now there’s not going to be the money in medical because the soft cap is going to get smashed. There’s going to be less list spots available. The game is going to become quicker and more dynamic.
“Players above the age of 30 are going to be found out, chewed up and spat out and I don’t like it at all.”
Catch up on Tuesday’s SEN SA Breakfast below: