From the Sunday Herald-Sun
Reported by Lauren Wood
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A SECRET trial of the AFL’s concept game, AFLX, conducted in Albert Park can be revealed.
Players from VFL teams Port Melbourne and Coburg faced off behind closed doors at Lakeside Stadium on Friday night.
It was the league’s third official trial of the shortened version of the game, inspired by Twenty20 cricket.
Matches are played on a soccer pitch, with smaller teams and reduced playing time.
The high-scoring affair, watched by the Sunday Herald Sun, appeared to be overseen by at least one AFL official, with members of the official supporter feedback group, AFL Fan Focus, invited to attend and share their immediate impressions.
Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park. Picture Supplied
In the trial, Port Melbourne and Coburg played four 10-minute quarters, two of them with eight players a side and two with seven.
Previous trials — including one involving North Melbourne at Arden St — have featured only seven players a side.
Five-time premiership player and former Geelong and Adelaide coach Gary Ayres — current senior coach of Port Melbourne — was recently approached by the AFL to see whether his team would be interested in taking part in the trial.
And, while he recommended a few tweaks, he was largely glowing in praise of what he saw.
“It is very, very fast. It’s very much about high-scoring, fast play,” he told the Sunday Herald Sun yesterday. “If you get burnt on a turnover or a poor kick or poor decision, generally you get scored against and scored against very quickly. It’s a bit like (the ball is) up one end one second and then up the other end in another.
“If you can retain possession, you can certainly score and score quite heavily.”