The AFL will continue its experiment with its radically shortened version of the game, AFLX, in a round-robin tournament at Marvel Stadium on Friday, February 22nd. The competition will climax with a final between the top two teams.
It’s AFL, but not as we know it...
The game format is intended to showcase the fast and furious aspects of Australian football, but played on a rectangular field similar to a soccer or American football field. The playing area is just 110 meters (120 yards) in length. There is a 10-meter "launching zone" in the middle of the ground and a 15-meter "forward zone" at each end of the field. The resemblance to AFL is maintained by using standard AFL goal posts.
Each team has fourteen players with only eight of their players permitted on the field at any one time, while the rest sit on the interchange bench. There are no limits on the number of interchanges or substitutions permitted. The game is played in two ten minute halves with no time on added for delays or stoppages.
Play starts with the umpire throwing the ball up in the center of the ground.
After "super goals" (more on those later), the ball is returned to the center for the umpire to restart the game. Scoring is the same as in regular AFL with behinds (worth one point each) and goals (worth six points). However, teams can score super goals by kicking from within or behind the launching area. In other words, a 55-meter plus kick! This is pretty tough for mere mortals, so super goals can also be scored by kicking from the launching zone and having a forward mark (catch) and kick a goal from the 15-meter forward zone. Play restarts within 10 seconds of any score, (apart from a super goal), by the defending team kicking in from behind the line at the end of the playing field. Players taking set shots at goal from marks or free kicks, have a mere 10 seconds to take their shots. This game runs at hyper speed!
Life gets even tougher for the defenders who are not permitted to defensively "rush" minor scores (i.e. deflect the ball through their own goal for a behind). If they show clear intention to knock the ball over the attacking team's score line they will give away one point and the attacking team will get a free kick from 15 meters – and the goal will be recorded as a super goal. Eleven points in one play? Ouch!
To avoid congested play, each team must start with two players within each of the 15 meter zones at each end. That means only four players from each team in the middle when play starts and restarts. If the ball goes out of bounds, a free kick is awarded against the last team that touched it. Players who receive free kicks for the ball going out of bounds can run the ball back into play, handball, or kick the ball. Once a player gets his hands on the ball he can run 20 meters before he has to bounce it. Players can kick backwards as a defensive measure, but if a teammate catches the backwards kick, a mark will not be awarded and the player must play on. The only exception to this is when play is in the team’s forward zone. Because of the shortness of the field, 50 meter penalties will be reduced to just 25 meters. If a player receives a free kick and a 25 meter penalty from within or behind the launching zone and they kick a goal – it will be recorded as a super goal.
To keep interest to the very end of the game, each team has to nominate a "Gatorade game changer" for the last five minutes of each match. Play stops for 30 seconds for the Gatorade game changer to get into position. Any scores kicked by that designated player will be worth double points.
The four captains of the teams competing have been announced. Patrick Dangerfield will lead the BOLTS; Eddie Betts will captain DEADLY; and Nat Fyfe and Jack Riewoldt will respectively lead the FLYERS and RAMPAGE. (Team names are all caps!) They will participate in a "draft" to be held next Wednesday February 7th, 3:00 AM US EST, by selecting from a pool of 100 preselected players.
The competition will be broadcast live on the AFL website AFL.com.au and on WatchAFL. Check our TV schedules page for the latest times.
Article last changed on Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 5:29 AM EST