In “home and away” games coaches target approximately equal playing time over the course of the season and at least three quarters every game.
In recent seasons, in our endeavour to offer as many kids as possible to the opportunity to play AFL, team squad sizes have expanded, in some cases well over optimal numbers. This is manageable during minor round, where there is flexibility to roster, modify team size, even up (lending players to opposition), plus regular illness/absenteeism to ensure all available players are getting at least three quarters every week.
In finals games where all players tend to be available, coaches must select all primary squad members. Where this leads to an extended interchange bench, the minimum playing time is relaxed. In elimination finals it is recognised that winning provides further playing opportunities for all players. Accordingly, in finals matches coaches have discretion to manage interchange as the competitive situation dictates, provided all players receive a minimum of half a game playing time.
Where the issue of minimal playing time is likely to arise coaches are required to inform players and parents in advance, so that player expectations are met on match day.
Thank you again to the coaches and team managers who, despite the potential complications, agree to take on expanded squads in the interest of getting more kids into the game.
Mosman Swans Football Department