Main content

Bevo feared 'black economy' on runner limit

Mooted restrictions on runners haven't eventuated for 2018 - AFL,Luke Beveridge,Gillon McLachlan,Steve Hocking,Western Bulldogs
Mooted restrictions on runners haven't eventuated for 2018

LUKE Beveridge knows all about the black economy, having worked for the tax office and the government agency AUSTRAC before becoming an AFL senior coach.

The Western Bulldogs feared an AFL version if the League had gone ahead with its plan to crack down on runners.

Beveridge has been one of the leaders in a successful push by the coaches to stop the introduction of stricter rules.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and new football operations manager Steve Hocking decided against implementing the changes after meeting with most of the senior coaches.

The rules that were trialled during the pre-season, with tougher guidelines on when runners could take messages to the players, will not be implemented from round one.

"It was important to me, for many reasons," Beveridge said.

"We need to get messages to our players – without a runner, you can't rely on your players running on and off the ground.

"It ends up being a black economy – we end up with underground things happening through doctors and trainers (getting messages to players) and we don't want that."

Beveridge is rapt that the AFL listened to the coaches about their concerns.

"I applaud the AFL for making a really practical and conscientious decision that will help the coaches," he said.

"It was going to be dramatic change this close to the season, too, to change and not have runners.

"They obviously listened and it's a great sign.

"It's encouraging for the coaches, so we feel like we can have an impact if we feel strongly enough about something."

Beveridge said there was a strong need for runners in the AFL, given the large size of the playing surface, the fact that the coaches cannot be heard from the boundary line and the lack of timeouts.