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Clubs returning 'inadequate' interchange boards

The display boards that most clubs are opting to return - AFL,Rules
The display boards that most clubs are opting to return

AFL CLUBS have rejected en masse the digital interchange boards that proved inadequate for match-day use.

An AFL source priced the imported devices at "around $3000", which amounts to effectively a $54,000 blowout on the failed trial.

The boards were introduced to assist clubs with messaging after the AFL's crackdown on runners, who can now enter the field only after a goal.

As first reported by AFL.com.au, the AFL emailed clubs on Tuesday night to give permission for them to use their own board to communicate with players on the field.

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That League response followed complaints that players could not read the screens, mainly because of sun glare.

The feedback to AFL.com.au included "impractical", "didn't work" and "not suitable".

Interchange staff also struggled with how heavy the device was, according to club contacts.

Thirteen of the 17 clubs that responded to AFL.com.au said they would return the boards to AFL House, as requested.

It is unclear what the AFL plans to do with the unwanted devices.

Gold Coast received an interchange board last Friday and chose not to use it because of the short turnaround to its pre-season opener.

Carlton remains open to keeping the device in its match-day rotation.

Brisbane coach and AFL Competition Committee member Chris Fagan told reporters on Wednesday the Lions elected not to use the AFL-issued board "because we knew that it wouldn't work".

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Port Adelaide was the same, believing "it could not be seen in the daylight", but won't be returning the device yet.

"It was hard to see in the sun … but we've been given the opportunity this week to find our own boards, if we wish to use them, to help players," Fagan said.

"So that's another good example where the AFL is listening to the clubs and were able to make a few changes that might make this whole situation a little bit better."

Richmond is contemplating using a cricket scoreboard-style manual board to communicate rotations to its players, while Geelong and Adelaide are likely to use their own board as well.

Collingwood won't use anything in JLT2, but will explore its options, as will St Kilda, with North Melbourne and Sydney set to rely on more traditional methods.

The alternative boards can be a maximum of 800mm x 600mm, only one can be used at a time and no sponsor advertising can be displayed, but clubs can determine what the boards are made from and the size of the numbers shown.

A staff member must use the board within their interchange zone and it cannot be attached to a stand or bench infrastructure.

DITCHING THE BOARDS

Adelaide, Brisbane, Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong, GWS Giants, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda, Sydney, Western Bulldogs

* Carlton, Hawthorn, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide are yet to make a final decision

^ West Coast did not respond