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AFL backflip on interchange trial rule

Callum Twomey  February 22, 2013 2:17 PM

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The AFL has changed its NAB Cup trial rule and six players, including three subs, will now be used on the interchange bench

THE AFL has loosened its new trial rules capping interchange rotations, with clubs allowed two extra players on the bench for the second and third rounds of the NAB Cup.
 
Clubs were advised on Friday they would be able to select three interchange players and three substitutes for the next two rounds of the pre-season competition.
 
They were initially allowed just three interchange players and one substitute, which was coupled with a cap on rotations – 80 a team each game.
 
This had gained some criticism from coaches, who said the new cap, plus a cutting of squads, restricted clubs' ability to manage the game time of their players before round one.
 
The AFL said the allowance of two extra substitutes would maintain interchange numbers at three and ensure the validity of the cap trial.
 
However, it signals a step away from an "inevitable" capping of rotations in the home and away season in 2014, which Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh said this week.
 
The League has also responded to calls to change the heat policy in the NAB Cup.
 
In "extreme heat", the three substitutes would be declared full interchange players, meaning clubs will have six players on the bench with no cap on rotations.
 
St Kilda coach Scott Watters called on a review into the heat policy last week after the Saints faced Adelaide and Port Adelaide in searing conditions at AAMI Stadium.
 
Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey.