COLLINGWOOD captain Scott Pendlebury has called on the AFL to lengthen its season and drastically cut the pre-season as the League looks at potential changes after COVID-19.
The AFL has sought feedback from all clubs around the future of the game, and Pendlebury highlighted the mix of time spent at the club over summer versus the length of the season as a key focus.
The 32-year-old, who has signed on to play with the Magpies next year for a 16th season at the club, said he was supportive of significant change with the structure of the year.
"I know as a player the pre-season training block, which goes for about four or five months, and we only play for five months ... I'd love to do a two-month pre-season and get to play more football," he said.
"Whether that's extending the season and playing everyone twice, or a few more games in the season, I think most players would rather play than do pre-season. I'm an advocate of extending the finals series in any way we can because I think that's the most exciting football of the year and fans seem to love it.
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"The closest thing to that throughout the season is the rivalry games like the Showdown (between Adelaide and Port Adelaide) and the West Coast-Fremantle games, so maybe you [could] have an extra rivalry round in the season.
"I think all players [would say] any chance to play more football, the better."
The three-and-a-half-week training block between players returning to clubs ahead of this year's round two clash after the shutdown period is likely to be instructive for the AFL as it decides on its plans for 2021 and beyond.
Already the Magpies have had some minor setbacks in the condensed period, with Adam Treloar's calf injury on the first day of training likely to see him miss a round two match-up with Richmond, while Levi Greenwood also had some calf tightness this week as he continues a strong return from his knee reconstruction.
Pendlebury favoured adding a 'wildcard' round to the finals to get past the late-season "lull" in the fixture, and has also been strong in his view a best-of-three Grand Final series would add something new to the competition.
"Whatever we do that's different will create attention first, and then it will become the new norm," he said.
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"It's a good opportunity this year to see games with shorter quarters and see how it looks, and the talk of the night Grand Final if that happens we'll see how it goes, then you can debate from there whether you like it or not."
Pendlebury said the Pies were ready to move into contact training next week under the AFL's guidelines, with strong sessions planned for Monday and Friday.