Peter Parry has written to arguing that a “half sized” version of Aussie Rules could significantly broaden its appeal. For those of us playing footy in Asia where we struggle to field touring teams of 18 players plus bench, and find decent sized ovals, a lot of what he says resonates.
Part of Peter’s article, is reproduced below:
“…In an increasingly time and space poor world, most team games have their smaller or shortened versions which encourage wider participation and are used to promote those sports in new markets. In comparison Australian Football, the big game on a big field, has been slow to embrace smaller formats.
“Other sports do the small version big time
“T20 in cricket now looks set to revolutionise the old game, going further in attracting new participants and fans than 1 day cricket a generation ago. Cricket also has a widely played indoor version (primarily recreationally) and has used 8-a-side on small ovals in South-East Asia. Rugby 7’s has taken a simpler version of the 15-a-side game of complex rules to dozens of countries beyond its traditional domain. Soccer has several smaller versions – outdoor 5-a-side, indoor 5-a-side, beach soccer…with world cups playable in some of these formats. Basketball a 3 on 3 version, Rugby League has the very popular “touch footy” format as well as a 9’s version sometimes used in international development, Gaelic football has an increasingly popular annual 7’s tournament, American Football has a non-contact “flag football” version, and the list could go on…
“Australian Football is the biggest sport in size terms
“In terms of size Australian Football is a big game: 36 big men fly high and roam far and wide on the world’s largest football field. The game is appreciated best from the stands, even widescreen TV fails to capture the full scale of play. Whilst the full size version due to its spectacle will always be the elite form of the game, half-size versions like “9-a-side” and “RecFooty” are increasingly making their mark. Perhaps the most important aspects of half-size versions are: the relative ease to form a team, the fitting onto smaller grounds and the double ball time for play time that participants get in a high aerobic format. These factors increase the potential to gain and maintain high participation rates…”
To read the rest of the article on World Footy News, click .