It was interesting to watch the AFLX competition rolled out over the summer, a new game concept developed by the AFL.
There was lots of colour, hype and fanfare to go with this new shortened variation of Aussie Rules.
But does it have the ability to capture the hearts and minds of AFL fans or is it nothing more than a glorified practice match?
And being a practice match, how does this fare if a big name player gets injured? Let's not forget current stars are paid big monies to play, so will clubs enforce bans on players participating similar to the concerns that resulted in scrapping the NRL Nines.
Given that overseas stadiums are not big enough to cater for our game and ALFX plays on grounds the same size as soccer pitches, my thoughts are that this is really aimed at gaining International interest and creating more of an International market. The problem with that, however, is that it's not really important to most fans that our current AFL game or a concept style of it be played internationally. Aussie Rules is Indigenous to Australia and that’s what makes our game unique.
It has no hope of competing with the International codes of soccer, rugby, basketball or cricket overseas.
The threat and talks of other codes taking over the AFL, and becoming the number one code here in Australia, is just that, talk. It won’t happen!
People, critics and the media have been saying that for years and AFL is still by far the dominant sporting code in the country. The growing rate of the game right now is going through the roof, so to speak.
The success of the woman’s AFLW competition is expanding at a fast rate and its live coverage is also producing healthy TV ratings proving that there is a unique market for AFLW alone.
Interesting to note that just recently AFL was introduced to five private girls' schools in the heartland of NRL in Sydney. Over 500 hundred girls registered to play despite being raised in league territory.
In fact, there is so much interest in women's Aussie Rules, there aren’t enough grounds for the women to play on in NSW. The same goes for Victoria and the fast flourishing interest in woman participation.
The ALFW is a viable means to introduce new people into our game, AFLX on the other hand, doesn't have the same long-term future. It's a hit-and-giggle type concept game where players treat it as a bit of fun more than a real fully-fledged game with a win-at-all costs attitude.
Continuing to introduce as many new participants to our game as possible, will ensure that our great game thrives and remains as the number one sporting code in the country.
The Marngrook Footy Show returns for 2019 tonight at 8.30pm on NITV (Ch. 34). Catch up is available On Demand after broadcast.
Grant Hansen is host of NITV's The Marngrook Footy Show, presenter of Melbourne's Indigenous radio station 3KND and musician.