THERE'S been at least two common misconceptions in the ongoing discussion around playing list sizes.

The first was the baseless belief there was going to be a reduction as soon as the 2020 season.

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We've seen footballers' contract terms renegotiated in these coronavirus times but turfing contracts altogether, especially en masse, would be a whole different matter.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan finally put that one to bed on Thursday.

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"For reasons I think are obvious (financial); all aspects of football are under review going forward – and list sizes have come up," McLachlan said.

"I have no information that will have an impact this year."

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The second is the fear around player job losses.

The average list size is about 45 or 46, factoring in the variation in rookies.

No set number per club is in place for if a reduction occurs but 35 has become a popular speculative figure, which would translate to a minimum of 180 fewer listed AFL footballers.

Some believe lists could be cut to 35 by as soon as next season but it may also be a more gradual process, given it would be so significant and with the complication of contracts beyond 2020.

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However, that doesn't mean there won't still be bulk playing opportunities outside of those officially listed, as will be explained below.

Again, as McLachlan said mid-week: "There are not less jobs – there is just a different configuration to put your list together. I think that's a better way of looking at it."

Everyone accepts injuries are a major part of the game, and the number of them differs by team each season.

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Every club bar Geelong, West Coast, Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn used 35 or more footballers at senior level last season – and they still sent out 34 players each.

St Kilda and Melbourne had the most with 39 apiece.

North Melbourne in 2018 and Adelaide in 2017 both used only 31 footballers but the 2018 Saints' and 2017 Suns' corresponding figures were 41 and 42.

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There are two points here: there will be opportunities beyond a list of 35 (if that's how it ends up), and there is a necessity for the AFL to create a system whereby top-up players can easily be signed.

The idea list bosses are favouring, as revealed in March, is a United States-style waiver system, based on reverse ladder order, that would enable players to be snapped up on a weekly basis.

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That process is superior to, for instance, a mid-season draft, in that coaches and recruiters could fill a specific need at any time, rather than having to wait or just selecting the best player available.

The other matter is the one coaches such as the Bulldogs' Luke Beveridge have raised: the need for a certain number of players for match simulation training during the week.

That's why understands the people entrusted with the list sizes thinktank are weighing up whether AFLW rules could work in the potential new AFL world.

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In the AFLW, where clubs have lists of 30, each team also has up to 10 'train-on' players who can take part in match simulation training once a week.

The conditions can change because of injuries or other long-term unavailability, enabling those footballers to attend every session, although still being eligible only to train.

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Train-on AFLW players can eventually become replacement players once a club is down to fewer than 23 fit footballers (21 play in a match).

The AFL Players' Association and player agents justifiably want to see the AFL's books before agreeing to any salary cap and/or list size reduction.

AFLPA boss Paul Marsh has repeatedly stated his organisation must agree before any of this goes forward.

At the same time, he's also said several times that the AFLPA's job isn't to "maximise player contracts" but rather establish "the right number". 

In these unforeseen and dire circumstances, less appears to be the right number – but understanding that 'less' largely just means 'different' is at the core of this debate.