AFL Z: Next-next generation football

With the news today that the AFL has been secretly trialing a new version of football code-named AFL X, it’s worth considering going one step further – Or in this case, a full 2 letters of the alphabet further.


AFL Z, as I’m calling it, is a 5 a side game played on synthetic grass field measuring 28m by 15m. The smaller, rectangle field lends itself to the plentiful indoor stadiums across Australia. It also allows for the game to played all year round, permitting a fairer playing schedule where every team plays each other twice and a ‘best of’ finals series. It also makes the expansion of the League into markets like Northern Sydney and Cairns a real possibility. With more games on offer, a mega TV-rights deal will off-set any disadvantages as a result of less fans being able to attend games due lower capacity venues.


Each team will consist of a ruck, two forwards and two defenders although players will be encouraged to play in all areas of the field. As such, the concept ‘zoning’ and ‘set plays’ will become an integral part to the sport. The extended bench will consist of seven players, with rotations allowed only during stoppages. Clubs will need to reduce their overall paying list by around half, but the expansion of the League will result in no net loss of players overall.


Scoring is similar to the current form of the game – except that only the goal posts will remain and a score of two points will be registered for a goal instead of six (which let’s face it has always been difficult to explain to newcomers). Players will be rewarded for taking riskier shots from further away. A new ‘7m arc’ replaces the ’50m arc’ and goals scored from outside it will be equal to three points.


The quintessential aspects of the game like tackling and physical contact will still be permitted, but new MRP guidelines will see a high tackle or a push-in-the-back be assessed as intentional and medium impact – usually resulting in a one game ban.


Like to hear your thoughts.




About Mike Hugo

Occasional contributor, illustrator of Footy Places and other things (see my web store below).


  1. How about recruiting of really tall african americans and hey, this would be of interest to those running the olympics.

  2. I like the idea of AFL Zero.

    BTW – when did footy become “AFL”?

  3. 1993, Dips, when the AFL Commission said ‘yep, we run (and are) the game now’ and the other States were no longer able to argue.

    Could be a bit like arena soccer in the USA, Mike…:

  4. Thanks Dips – was going to say the same thing. I am SICK TO DEATH of AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL (ARF) being called ‘AFL’. It’s everywhere, and REALLY annoys when those ignoramuses in the north tell me that they played ‘AFL’ as children. Really? The puzzled looks I get when I tell them that I played ‘NRL’ when I was at school is fun.

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