THE AFL has approved a medical substitution just a day out from the 2021 season- opener.
Clubs will have a 23rd man in their squad but that player will only be activated into the match if there is a game-ending injury.
The idea originated due to concussion after the league in January tightened rules around medical head knocks, but coaches have been unanimous in wanting the substitution to be allowed for any serious injury.
AFL football boss Steve Hocking will unveil the last-minute change during a press conference at the MCG on Wednesday.
The AFL Players’ Association has been critical of the move, declaring any change to playing numbers in a game-day squad should have happened much earlier in the year.
“This was a foreseeable problem when the rule changes were made last year around rotations, the man on the mark rule and the return to normal quarter lengths,” AFLPA boss Paul Marsh told SEN on Tuesday.
Blues coach David Teague was confident the move would be beneficial.
“I think they have added the sub to be make it fairer if you lose a player, so why limit it to concussion?,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Between 2011 and 2015, the AFL cut the interchange from four players to three but a substitute was allowed into the game for any reason.
(C) AAP 2021