The bye round often raises a lot of discussion and occasional frustration amongst fans, because at the end of the day we all love footy and want to watch as much as possible.
For players, it’s no different. We love to play and want to be out there playing the game we love. But the reality is, to create the best spectacle we need the best players on the park, and in recent years we’ve seen an increasing number of players rested by clubs during the season to ensure they are right for the remainder of the year.
‘to create the best spectacle we need the best players on the park’
We applaud the AFL’s decision to implement a second bye this season, and for working with our Association to address this trend. By providing players with a much-needed additional break during the season it will certainly help ensure the best players are able to play as often as possible, which in turn will produce the best spectacle for fans.
The gruelling nature of modern football – especially with the introduction of the interchange cap, which places further stress on players bodies – takes a toll both physically and mentally on players. A second bye round provides a genuine rest and, particularly for interstate guys who spend so much time travelling during the season, a chance to spend more time with family.
It’s a long season. Most players have been training since late last year, so there are plenty of sore bodies, but a week’s rest will mean all the stars of the game are firing.
The result will be a spectacle that is great for the game.
Luke Ball is the President of the AFL Players’ Association.