Coaches have told AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan at a dinner date that they don’t want to win ugly and care about the look of the game.
Coaches have told AFL chief Gillon McLachlan at an unprecedented dinner date that they don’t want to win ugly.
McLachlan hosted 11 of the 18 AFL senior coaches at his Melbourne home on Monday night and held wide-ranging discussions on issues including the aesthetics of the game.
“It was a chat to talk about the game and to talk about where it’s at and ideas and philosophies,” McLachlan told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“From my perspective I think it was a really productive night. They were engaged, they are closer to the coalface of our game than anyone.”
McLachlan, appointed AFL chief executive in late April, wants to repeat the informal dinner which was praised by Geelong’s premiership coach Chris Scott.
“It was a little bit about the state of the game and the way it’s played,” Scott told reporters in Geelong on Tuesday.
“And there were some really good suggestions thrown up as to how maybe we can improve the way the game looks aesthetically.
“But also some of the challenges more broadly, making sure we build attendances and make the game attractive to people who haven’t seen much of our game before.”
Scott said contrary to perception, AFL coaches cared about the look of the game rather than just winning at any cost.
“The coaches don’t want to control the game … they just want to be available to add their expertise where required and Gill in particular seems really open to listening,” Scott said.
“I don’t think many people with a real interest in the game have a desire to see the game played in an ugly way.
“I understand that everyone probably thinks coaches would like to win irrespective of how the game looks. And I’m not as convinced by that, I think there are ways to achieve both.
“If we have got a really keen sense for the broader game improving, then I think that playing an attractive style of footy is really important to that. And fundamentally the coaches are supportive of that.”
The seven coaches who missed the dinner were Adam Simpson (West Coast), Ross Lyon (Fremantle), Ken Hinkley (Port Adelaide), Justin Leppitsch (Brisbane Lions) and John Longmire (Sydney Swans), who opted not to travel to Victoria. And Melbourne-based coaches Paul Roos (Melbourne) and Mark Thompson (Essendon) had television commitments.