THE AFL'S swift reaction to criticisms of how the holding-the-ball rule was being adjudicated strikes at the integrity of the game, according to Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.
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Following Alastair Clarkson's plea to the AFL to pay more holding-the-ball free kicks, Beveridge said the AFL should not adjust rules on a "whim".
"Clarko's got every right as a statesman of the game to have his opinion and put it across, but it's up to the powers at AFL to work out whether or not they flinch. And they flinched," Beveridge said on Thursday.
"I just wish the people involved in the game would take a breath before they criticise the game and make sure we hold our nerve and don't change rules and adjust things on a whim.
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"You need more than a one-event sample size to force change and we're too quick to flinch and it's not helping the game."
When asked whether changing rules based on a coach's "whim" strikes at the integrity of the game, Beveridge said "yes".
"Absolutely it does because it means there's no formal process to really discuss and risk manage what's going to happen at the end of that," Beveridge said.
"We've always got to forecast the change that will happen with any adjustment to rules, adjudication and interpretation and we don't do it well enough and we have to better at it."
Not long after, Clarkson responded to Beveridge's blast in a media conference, saying his power was overstated.
"If I was a significant influence then things would have changed (four) years ago when I spoke after the Western Bulldogs final," Clarkson said.
"Nothing's changed since then. If it has changed a little bit in the past week, I'm hoping it's for the betterment of the game and not necessarily just for the betterment of the Hawks. I hope people can see through that and see it's ... for the betterment of the game because I think the game will open up a little bit more if the whistle is blown just a little bit more."
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Beveridge also weighed in on the prospect of having to load the fixture with more games in fewer days, after the League asked clubs what the minimum turnaround between games could be.
"I've had some conversations with the AFL and I think there is a tipping point somewhere," Beveridge said.
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"A four day turnaround will be a huge challenge, it can't go to three."
Shorter turnarounds mean clubs will not organise scratch matches. The Dogs will not play a scratch match against the Blues this week as they've got a five-day turnaround between rounds six and seven.
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With Lin Jong (ankle), Hayden Crozier (suspension) confirmed outs, the Dogs could make up to four changes this week, but Bailey Smith and Laitham Vandermeer are tracking reasonably well after head knocks.
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Lachie Hunter will "definitely" be named in the squad of 26 and Beveridge is sure he'll set a better example after letting the team down with his drink-driving charge.
"We haven't had a lot of sympathy toward him, we've supported him," Beveridge said of the former vice-captain.
"We've asked him to collect himself and set an example again and he'll do that when he comes into the side."
Exciting forward Cody Weightman could be in line to make his debut after getting through last week's against North Melbourne with "flying colours."
"Cody will be one of those players who will be considered, and he might be in the 26," Beveridge said.