We could play AFLX in Hong Kong: McLachlan

The new AFLX format could be used to promote the game overseas as well as solve the problem of ground availability.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan )c) at the AFLX launch

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan (c) was joined by some interesting characters for the AFLX launch. (AAP) Source: SBS

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has forecast a mini-tournament in Hong Kong late next year using the new AFLX format.

The inaugural AFLX competition was launched on Tuesday and will be held in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney from February 15 to 17.

The 10-a-side format uses a smaller, rectangular playing field and if it works, the AFL is keen to take the concept overseas, where it can make use of stadiums configured for soccer and rugby.

"Let's get through next week and have a look at it," McLachlan said.

"But we've had (trouble) ... taking our game internationally.

"Now this is not our traditional game, AFLX, but it has all best bits of it - the same goals, it's the same rules generally.

"It means we can go to Hong Kong in November next year - not only with two clubs, we could take six clubs and take a mini-tournament."

AFLX is the league's equivalent of T20 - a faster-paced game, off-field entertainment and silver balls.

A sponsorship gimmick means goals scored from outside 40m will be known as "Zooper goals".

In keeping with the spirit of the new format, Tuesday's Etihad Stadium launch featured a parachutist and circus acrobats.

"It's different, it's exciting," McLachlan said of AFLX.

"It will be good summer fun with all the best skills of our game."

McLachlan said the original reason for AFLX was the shortage of ground availability, especially in eastern Sydney.

But he said it could solve the problem of adapting overseas facilities for the traditional AFL format, as has happened in Shanghai.

The AFL is also keen to see how AFLX can fit into the pre-season, which always attracts debate on how it should be structured.

"We're 10 days away, there's still so much unknown, but we have to try stuff," McLachlan said

"It means we can get onto different ovals in NSW and internationally, in different spots.

"It's a different format for a different audience ... it feels right to have a look at it in February.

"It's certainly a potential part of it (pre-season) going forward."

At the launch, St Kilda star Jack Billings suggested some sort of State Of Origin during the pre-season.

"All the players would like it, we'd like it, football supporters would like it," McLachlan said.

"It's just hard to do.

"If you're going to play State Of Origin, people will want to see it absolutely like it was.

"We're such a big, tribal sport and the clubs are so powerful."

3 min read
Published 6 February 2018 at 4:16pm
Source: AAP