AFLW Rule changes to increase scoring

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Sweet Jesus

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I noticed an article about Paul Hood suggesting 50 metres penalties are too determinative of scoring goals.


"With very few female players in the AFLW able to kick 50 metres and goal-scoring difficult, a 50-metre penalty – which is applied in the same manner as the AFL – that results in a goal can be game- and season-changing."

I'm not sure about the logic of Hood's comments about the 50-metre penalty but he's right that scoring is a concern. And clearly there is a willingness in some quarters to tweak rules accordingly.

When we have low scores in the men's code, everyone panics and talks about the scourge of congestion. People talk about limiting interchanges, shortening the game or removing the wingers. It's an annual circle-jerk.

So this is not a gendered criticism. We have these conversations about the men's code too.

In light of that, should the game be fundamentally tweaked to promote scoring. If so, how?

Coaches will understandably coach defence first - and that contributes to low-scoring games. Is that inevitable and everyone just accepts it? Or does the women's game need to be altered to assist scoring?

Obviously you don't want to make it a Mickey Mouse game on a smaller field or by softening rules around tackling. But games of 3 goals versus 5 goals aren't good for the code. I don't mean to be a jackass who is critical for the sake of it but that should be obvious.

Should rules to be tweaked to promote scoring? If so, how?
 

_Mike_

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Reading your opinion on the impact of low scoring in womens games I went back to see what what happening at grass roots football with the women's comps. As an example, last year's South Eastern (Metro Vic) women's grand final score saw the St Kilda Sharks 3.2.30 def Eastern Devils 2.4.16. Similarly in the Central Vic Football League, the GF between Golden Square & Kangaroo Flat saw the final scores as 4.6.30 to 0.5.5.

I dont know if adjusting the rules to increase scoring is going to bring about a marked improvement to the game. Women's footy is still fairly new and if you look back to the early VFL results of the 1880's, the scores were pretty low in comparison when the game was still developing. I feel the women's comp simply needs time to grow & improve, it may be years before we see games with more than 10-15 goals kicked between two teams.
 

chiwigi

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I noticed an article about Paul Hood suggesting 50 metres penalties are too determinative of scoring goals.


"With very few female players in the AFLW able to kick 50 metres and goal-scoring difficult, a 50-metre penalty – which is applied in the same manner as the AFL – that results in a goal can be game- and season-changing."

I'm not sure about the logic of Hood's comments about the 50-metre penalty but he's right that scoring is a concern. And clearly there is a willingness in some quarters to tweak rules accordingly.

When we have low scores in the men's code, everyone panics and talks about the scourge of congestion. People talk about limiting interchanges, shortening the game or removing the wingers. It's an annual circle-jerk.

So this is not a gendered criticism. We have these conversations about the men's code too.

In light of that, should the game be fundamentally tweaked to promote scoring. If so, how?

Coaches will understandably coach defence first - and that contributes to low-scoring games. Is that inevitable and everyone just accepts it? Or does the women's game need to be altered to assist scoring?

Obviously you don't want to make it a Mickey Mouse game on a smaller field or by softening rules around tackling. But games of 3 goals versus 5 goals aren't good for the code. I don't mean to be a jackass who is critical for the sake of it but that should be obvious.

Should rules to be tweaked to promote scoring? If so, how?
This applies to the mens game as well though. There's no way a penalty in the centre circle should cost a goal directly. It's absurd!
 

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Sweet Jesus

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Reading your opinion on the impact of low scoring in womens games I went back to see what what happening at grass roots football with the women's comps. As an example, last year's South Eastern (Metro Vic) women's grand final score saw the St Kilda Sharks 3.2.30 def Eastern Devils 2.4.16. Similarly in the Central Vic Football League, the GF between Golden Square & Kangaroo Flat saw the final scores as 4.6.30 to 0.5.5.

I dont know if adjusting the rules to increase scoring is going to bring about a marked improvement to the game. Women's footy is still fairly new and if you look back to the early VFL results of the 1880's, the scores were pretty low in comparison when the game was still developing. I feel the women's comp simply needs time to grow & improve, it may be years before we see games with more than 10-15 goals kicked between two teams.
Increased scoring would improve the game. We have the same conversations about the men's game.

You're right that the men's game was also low-scoring in the 1880s. But is that really the comparison the women's game wants? Presumably they want a code that works and brings people through the gates in 2020. The standards of 1880 probably aren't the ones to emulate.
 
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Hawk Time

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The problem is any idiot can be trained to attack and tackle it takes no skill just chase and catch.
This is what the game has come to, so any of the limited skills the girls have are being nullified by the only thing they can do properly, catch the girl...
And with most of the players skill level being 4 out of 10 on a good day it's obvious why it's depressing to watch.....
 

_Mike_

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But is that really the comparison the women's game wants?
Just a basis for comparing the development of the game between genders during their early years. The AFLW game started as its own comp in 2017 which is fair to argue its still in its early development years.

Presumably they want a code that works and brings people through the gates in 2020
No argument there, the player skills will develop but as to when, its a guess. Experimental rules may be a short term option until the things improve
 

Sweet Jesus

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Just a basis for comparing the development of the game between genders during their early years. The AFLW game started as its own comp in 2017 which is fair to argue its still in its early development years.
I'm not sure it makes much of a point though.

Should AFLW be relaxed about low scoring in 2020 because the men's game was low-scoring 140 years ago? I wouldn't have thought so.
 

NorthernBastard

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In AFL(M) what are the scoring rates in the time on period - 20 mins plus? my tip is that scoring increases in that period, which does not exist in AFLW quarters which are about 17-18mins.

We also have to accept that if the game is to be played as we know it, then it probably never will have the freedom of scoring that men have, due to the physiological differences between men and women.

However, I'm almost certain scoring will go up as we have more and more players in the system that have actually played 10 years of footy - The number of cross-coders and girls that have been playing less than 5 years is huge, and makes a massive difference to the ball movement, and as a result scoring. As someone else said, easy to teach these players to defend, alot harder to improve their ball use and decision making.
 
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Aardvark

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Richmond and Geelong scored 112 points in almost half the time of a mens game. How many AFL games have a total score over 220 points. I really can't see the problem. Maybe some blokes just don't like Womens footy and feel the need to find something to whinge about.
 

PurpleThunder

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1. Bring the goals closer together

2. Reduce players to reduce congestion.

3. Play on a rectangular pitch

4. Add Zooper-Dooper goals.

5. Add a Gatorade Gamechanger jersey
 

Sweet Jesus

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Richmond and Geelong scored 112 points in almost half the time of a mens game. How many AFL games have a total score over 220 points.
Why would you highlight a single game out of dozens?

I really can't see the problem.
Low scores. Which parts of that confounds you?

Maybe some blokes just don't like Womens footy and feel the need to find something to whinge about.
So it's sexist to observe low scores?
 

Clems Knee

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Rule changes in the AFL often have the opposite effect of their intentions.
Eg protecting the head leads to drawing free kicks by ducking, and doing the Selwood shrug. And more head contact.
Rules to increase scoring (eg 666) didn’t have much effect in the AFL last year. I reckon having only 16 on the ground hasn’t helped free up scoring either; a couple of fleet wingers would move the ball more quickly after a clearance.

Much better to keep the rules as close as they have always been.

Or we could go down the Patrick Dangerfield path (more for less) and reduce the length of men’s games to 20 minute quarters and no time on and see what the scoring is like then.

Or we can change the rules to bruise free footy like the bushfire match, or revive the AFLX, both of which had plenty of scoring. Might as well watch a crap sport like basketball.


50 metre penalties do have a bigger effect when players find it hard to kick that far. I would be happy for them to be 40 metre penalties, but don’t care enough to make the rule different from the men’s game. I am happy not to see the 100m penalties, which happened a few times last year.
 

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Sweet Jesus

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Much better to keep the rules as close as they have always been.

Or we could go down the Patrick Dangerfield path (more for less) and reduce the length of men’s games to 20 minute quarters and no time on and see what the scoring is like then.
Not sure what you're getting at here. What would this achieve?

Surely you don't think this would bring scoring in the men's code in line with what we've seen this year in AFLW?
 

Sweet Jesus

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It would be closer. Shorter games mean smaller scores.
Sure. But not to the extent we've seen in AFLW, so this is a red herring, isn't it?

The reality is that we've had 2 years of discussion about low scores in the men's game and that's with teams averaging 80 points a game or thereabouts. This suggests that freer scoring is, on balance, desirable. Why is it verboten to make the same case about scoring in AFLW, where the highest scoring side averaged 45 points a game and the lowest scoring side is way down at 17.5?
 
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Clems Knee

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Sure. But not to the extent we've seen in AFLW, so this is a red herring, isn't it?

The reality is that we've had 2 years of discussion about low scores in the men's game and that's with teams averaging 80 points a game or thereabouts. This suggests that freer scoring is, on balance, desirable. Why is it verboten to make the same case about scoring in AFLW, where the highest scoring side averaged 45 points a game and the lowest scoring side is way down at 17.5?
I reckon 80 points by the winning team is about normal for an AFL game now. That’s 20 points a quarter. Make the quarters 20 minutes instead of over 30 minutes and you can expect about 13 points a quarter (or less if scoring is more likely during time on when players get tired and systems break down). i.e. 52 points a game.
this accounts for most of the difference.

For the rest of the difference, I think the lower scores are mainly down to coaching. If a team without much forward talent (or the coach doesn’t trust his players to match the opposition forwards in talent) can keep the scoring as low as possible, they might jag a win. If it becomes a shootout, those differences become more pronounced.
Of course the conditions in a few games haven’t helped.
This was Geelong’s modus operandi last year for example, and they did pretty well. This year they are trying to actually outscore the opposition instead of out defend them. Higher scores, more watchable games, results not quite as good (so far).

You’ve suggested freer scoring is desirable. I agree that those in the AFL think so (hence AFLX), but I would rather rewatch the 2005/6 grand finals between Sydney and West Coast than bruise free shootouts. Women’s footy is definitely not bruise free and I find it fun to watch.
I would like to see more goals in AFLW, but I think that will come as teams get better forward lines as natural players are drafted as they come through the system.
 

Sweet Jesus

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I reckon 80 points by the winning team is about normal for an AFL game now.
It's not a matter of opinion. There is an average score per game.

That’s 20 points a quarter. Make the quarters 20 minutes instead of over 30 minutes and you can expect about 13 points a quarter (or less if scoring is more likely during time on when players get tired and systems break down). i.e. 52 points a game.
this accounts for most of the difference.
Some obviously sketchy maths.

Why are you so motivated to suggest AFLW isn't significantly lower-scoring in a way that's not simply an echo of the men's game? Skill and physical differences are also factors.

For the rest of the difference, I think the lower scores are mainly down to coaching. If a team without much forward talent (or the coach doesn’t trust his players to match the opposition forwards in talent) can keep the scoring as low as possible, they might jag a win. If it becomes a shootout, those differences become more pronounced.
Of course the conditions in a few games haven’t helped.
This was Geelong’s modus operandi last year for example, and they did pretty well. This year they are trying to actually outscore the opposition instead of out defend them. Higher scores, more watchable games, results not quite as good (so far).
That may be a reason for low scores. It doesn't make them desirable.

Are you determined not to say anything that might be interpreted as critical of the code and the players?

You’ve suggested freer scoring is desirable. I agree that those in the AFL think so (hence AFLX), but I would rather rewatch the 2005/6 grand finals between Sydney and West Coast than bruise free shootouts. Women’s footy is definitely not bruise free and I find it fun to watch.
I would like to see more goals in AFLW, but I think that will come as teams get better forward lines as natural players are drafted as they come through the system.
Who said anything about "bruise free"?

I've merely referenced the conversation about lower scoring in the men's game in recent years. Presumably those concerns apply equally to AFLW.
 

owen87

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In light of that, should the game be fundamentally tweaked to promote scoring. If so, how?
Personally I'd think ~ 60 points is a good realm for an AFLW team to score, from memory that's similar-ish to the ~ 100 they want the mens teams around. I don't think we should go for too many changes to the fundamental rules between men / women, but there can be changes that recognise differences in kicking distances and such.

I agree that 50m is disproportionately 'big' in the women's game given kicking distances, so reducing it to 25 / 30 (whatever is easier to measure on the fly) puts it in-line with the men - about a kick's worth of distance advanced.

Some tighter umpiring around holding / disposing of the ball would be worth trying, instead of repeat ball-ups and often very questionable disposals or dropping of the ball. I also don't think having 16 on-field players necessarily makes it 'less' congested, my view is that it removes loose players to release to as coaches will push similar numbers of players to the contest regardless.

Skill level will help, as the girls are able to hit targets through congestion more reliably, or take possession more cleanly. So I think too much meddling to manufacture an outcome isn't as important as time.
 

Clems Knee

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It's not a matter of opinion. There is an average score per game.
My figure was a matter of opinion as I couldn’t be bothered to look it up and be accurate. If you want to, go ahead.

Why are you so motivated to suggest AFLW isn't significantly lower-scoring in a way that's not simply an echo of the men's game? Skill and physical differences are also factors.
I don’t think I am that motivated. Why are you so motivated to emphasise the differences in scoring and not acknowledge the difference in game time as a contributing factor?

That may be a reason for low scores. It doesn't make them desirable.

Are you determined not to say anything that might be interpreted as critical of the code and the players?
I thought a criticism of the style of play employed by coaches with forwards lacking in skill (or not as good as their opposition) is critical of the code as it is at the moment. Criticism is fine as long as not just an excuse for meat-axes to practise their misogyny.

Who said anything about "bruise free"?

I've merely referenced the conversation about lower scoring in the men's game in recent years. Presumably those concerns apply equally to AFLW.
I did. I made the link between bruise free footy (which I find tedious) and high scoring. I believe that link is clear. Don’t you?

I also suggested that the AFL hierarchy would rather a high scoring boring game than a low scoring good game. I think the conversation is wrong headed about the men’s game and mostly wrong headed about the women’s game, though I think coaches whose game plan is to reduce scoring and hope to jag a win are not good for the game as a spectacle.
 

Sweet Jesus

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My figure was a matter of opinion as I couldn’t be bothered to look it up and be accurate. If you want to, go ahead.
The average team score in 2019 was 80 points per game. That's more than any AFLW team has scored in any game this year.

I don’t think I am that motivated. Why are you so motivated to emphasise the differences in scoring and not acknowledge the difference in game time as a contributing factor?
Even allowing for differences in game time, AFLW is much lower scoring. That's so obvious that to over-emphasise the difference in game time seems like deliberate misdirection.

Every week in AFLW you have 10 teams run out. There's been 7 rounds.

So that's 70 team totals. Of those, 32 have included 4 goals or less.

To suggest there's parity once you allow for differences in game time is not playing straight.

I thought a criticism of the style of play employed by coaches with forwards lacking in skill (or not as good as their opposition) is critical of the code as it is at the moment. Criticism is fine as long as not just an excuse for meat-axes to practise their misogyny.
There's nothing misogynistic about asking if there is a systemic approach worth considering that could propel higher scoring.

I did. I made the link between bruise free footy (which I find tedious) and high scoring. I believe that link is clear. Don’t you?
Is "bruise-free footy" the only way to lift scoring? Why is that the starting point?

I also suggested that the AFL hierarchy would rather a high scoring boring game than a low scoring good game. I think the conversation is wrong headed about the men’s game and mostly wrong headed about the women’s game, though I think coaches whose game plan is to reduce scoring and hope to jag a win are not good for the game as a spectacle.
Which brings me back to my original point: if higher scoring is desirable in the men's game, presumably it is also desirable in the women's game.

If we're having conversations about rule changes in the men's game when the average score is 80, surely we should be having conversations about rule changes in the women's game when scores are significantly lower.
 
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Clems Knee

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The average team score in 2019 was 80 points per game. That's more than any AFLW team has scored in any game this year.

Even allowing for differences in game time, AFLW is much lower scoring. That's so obvious that to over-emphasise the difference in game time seems like deliberate misdirection.

Every week in AFLW you have 10 teams run out. There's been 7 rounds.

So that's 70 team totals. Of those, 32 have included 4 goals or less.

To suggest there's parity once you allow for differences in game time is not playing straight.
I didn’t suggest that there’s a parity once you allow for differences in game time. I did suggest that the difference is not as pronounced as you claimed.
To ignore the differences in game times when you are comparing the women’s and men’s game is not playing straight.
The differences in game time account for a significant portion of the difference in scoring. Why don’t you acknowledge that?

There's nothing misogynistic about asking if there is a systemic approach worth considering that could propel higher scoring.
I never said that asking if there is a systemic approach to propel higher scoring is misogynistic. The misogyny is involved when unfair criteria are applied to the women’s game with a view to criticising it.
Is "bruise-free footy" the only way to lift scoring? Why is that the starting point?
Uncontested footy games have higher scoring. Contesting possessions and preventing easy possessions reduce scoring. The women’s game is full of contested play and players fighting for every possession.
Apart from having more skilful forwards (which I have already talked about) is there another way to lift scoring, while still being Aussie Rules? Bruise-Free footy is the starting point because it’s what the AFL tried to bring in to make the game more entertaining for people with the attention span of a goldfish.

Which brings me back to my original point: if higher scoring is desirable in the men's game, presumably it is also desirable in the women's game.

If we're having conversations about rule changes in the men's game when the average score is 80, surely we should be having conversations about rule changes in the women's game when scores are significantly lower.
I do not accept that higher scoring is desirable in the men’s game. I have explained that a tough contested game is better than a loose uncontested one where the goals flow easily. The problem is that there are a lot of people who can only read scorelines when they make judgements, and not actually watch the games. The AFL should not pander to those people.

I do want higher scores on average in the women’s games. Part of that is the weather that the women face in summer, part is that the effect of the rule changes in the AFLW have had the opposite effect to their intentions (reduced ball size increases the effect of wind, 16 a side reduces the number of outside players) and part is that certain coaches are playing overly defensively to increase their chances of winning.
But let’s not exaggerate the problem and foist more rule changes on the competition, resulting in more unintended consequences.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Clems Knee so what is your argument exactly?

My point/query is quite straightforward.

If low scores are a concern in the men's code, they should be a concern in the women's code.

Low scores in the men's code have prompted discussion of rule changes. Should we not have similar discussions in the women's code?
 
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zepender

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Rules to increase scoring (eg 666) didn’t have much effect in the AFL last year. I reckon having only 16 on the ground hasn’t helped free up scoring either; a couple of fleet wingers would move the ball more quickly after a clearance.
Any thoughts on moving back to 18 players for AFLW? I feel like I see a couple of fast breaks per game where a player just kicks the ball blindly into 50 with nobody ahead of them and just tries to beat their opponent to the ball. I wonder if, with a couple of extra players, there might be someone able to sit in forward 50 who could be a lead-up marking target for situations like that.
 

Clems Knee

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Clems Knee so what is your argument exactly?

My point/query is quite straightforward.

If low scores are a concern in the men's code, they should be a concern in the women's code.

Low scores in the men's code have prompted discussion of rule changes. Should we not have similar discussions in the women's code?
I'll try and summarise my argument for you.

Low scores should not be a concern in the men's code.

Low scores are a concern in the women's code, but not to the degree that score-watchers claim.
The main issues causing low scores in the women's game are a lack of skilled forwards, overly defensive coaching by some coaches, poor weather and the unintended effect of rule changes. The first two issues will sort themselves as more skilled players are drafted into the system. The poor weather is likely to get poorer and is for another discussion, and some of the rule changes could be reversed - in particular restore the wings (18 onfield) and do some study on how the effect of wind is dependent on the weight of the football.

Rule changes to both the men's and women's version of the code should be avoided if possible, and only brought in after careful consideration of the unintended consequences of their introduction.
 

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