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Rotation cap will decide who we draft: Sanderson

Harry Thring  March 5, 2013 2:23 PM

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Players like Jared Petrenko could have their careers threatened by an interchange cap according to Brenton Sanderson

I think what will probably happen is that the 18 clubs will unanimously vote against [the cap on interchange rotations] and it'll probably still come in
THE CAPPING of interchange rotations from 2014 could change the face of the game and signal the end for some of the competition's most exciting players.

That's the call from Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson who, on Tuesday, told reporters that if rotations were capped near 80 per game – as they have been in the NAB Cup – it could mean the end of some of the competition's biggest crowd-pullers.

The cap during the NAB Cup has drawn criticism from coaches and players alike this summer, but instead of drawing sympathy from AFL boss Andrew Demetriou, he's told them to get used to it.

Sanderson said 178cm Jared Petrenko would struggle to continue his AFL career should the cap remain below 100 rotations per game and such a rule change would limit player diversity in the game.

"It'll certainly affect the way we pick players at the draft and certainly affect how we train," Sanderson said.

"We'd need more players between the heights of 188 and 192cm with a really good aerobic capacity, guys like Jared Petrenko, who's just flat out for five minutes and then off, would probably find it harder to get a game."

Sanderson feared Demetriou's call for coaches to stop complaining could mean concerns regarding rule changes would fall on deaf ears at AFL headquarters.

"How can I say this nicely, it's important that clubs get their say and get listened to and I think what will probably happen is that the 18 clubs will unanimously vote against [the cap] and it'll probably still come in," he said.

"A cap's ok, we'll play by whatever rules the AFL bring in, that won't be the issue, it's the number that's important.

"Hopefully they don't say it's [necessary because of] injuries, because we rotated more than anyone last year and we had the lowest injuries.

"I'll do my best to be heard but I don't think I will be heard."

Former Port Adelaide skipper Dom Cassisi also voiced his opposition to the cap on Twitter.

Sanderson has previously said his side reached the "ceiling" of what was physically possible when it came to rotations last season; the Crows averaged a league-high 152 per game.

He said a cap lower than 120 would start to significantly impact the way his club played and trained.

"We rely on speed, I like a fast game with us, that's how we train our players," he said.

"If it's 120, 130 that won't impact us a great deal I don't think, but 80 certainly impacted us a great deal on the weekend."

That impact was highlighted by a 63-point drumming at the hands of Geelong last weekend.

Sanderson described the poor performance as an attitude problem for is team but back them to instantly turn this around against Carlton on Friday night at AAMI Stadium.

"You can't flick your switch with form, but you can certainly flick your switch with attitude," he said.

"The thee games we've played we've started poorly, so that's purely an attitude issue that we've addressed with our senior players.

"We'll get a much better effort this week I'm sure."

Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.