Paul Roos wants changes to AFL bench - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Paul Roos wants changes to AFL bench

By Adam Cooper and Greg Buckle 21/07/2008 06:28:53 PM Comments (0)

Sydney coach Paul Roos has called on the AFL to expand the interchange bench immediately to prevent the blight of player injuries having an impact on the result of games.

Roos was delighted with how his undermanned side rallied to beat Carlton on Sunday even though Leo Barry (hamstring) and Michael O'Loughlin (ankle) could not take part in the last quarter, and Adam Goodes (groin) and Ryan O'Keefe (ankle) played hurt.

But he said the number of games influenced by injuries was enough evidence for the league to make an immediate rule change, like it did earlier this season when the drawn game between the Swans and North Melbourne prompted a revamp of the new interchange rules.

Roos, Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse and Richmond counterpart Terry Wallace have all this season called for more players to be put on the bench so sides could cover the loss of players to game-ending injuries.

Although the Swans bucked the trend of sides afflicted by injury by winning, Roos said the issue needed further discussion to ensure a level playing field.

"There definitely needs to be some debate. We suffered on the weekend and were able to win. Essendon (suffered) the day before and lost by a couple of points," he said.

"Adelaide lost the other week to Collingwood and even Mick Malthouse said after the game he felt it was significant in that particular game.

"There's no doubt it has an impact. It significantly hampered us in the last quarter.

"We had blokes who were really tired and they were able to dig in.

"It was no surprise that in the last four or five minutes we were just hanging on. It was lucky we got out to a 20-point lead because they (the Blues) kicked the last three goals.

"Our blokes were just exhausted.

"It definitely needs to be something that gets discussed."

The AFL has refused to expand the bench this season, but has invited clubs to make written submissions on proposed new rule changes for 2009.

An AFL spokesman said clubs had until mid-August to submit submissions.

"If there's anything a club wants to put in with the laws of the game panel to look at, they're welcome to raise any of the laws," he said.

The AFL made an immediate change to the interchange rules after round six, when North Melbourne and Sydney played a draw and it was revealed the Swans momentarily had 19 players on the field.

Sides are now penalised a free kick plus 50-metre penalty if they infringe the interchange rules.

The league spokesman defended the AFL's decision to change those rules immediately.

"What could have happened wouldn't have been a good result for the game if North had called for a head count (of Sydney players) and the (Swans') score gone back to zero," he said.

"It wouldn't have been good in the environment we're now in, so we had to change that immediately."

The AFL is yet to receive any submissions from clubs requesting an expanded bench, but Roos said it was up to the league to ensure it made changes for the benefit of the game.

"I guess they say the (other rule changes) are for the benefit of the game," he said.

"I would suggest if everyone's talking about it, which they are, then the clubs wouldn't need to make a submission.

"It's something (the AFL) needs to sit down and ... do something about it."

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