Geelong coach Chris Scott calls for radical overhaul to AFL clubs’ lists

Highly respected AFL coach Chris Scott says the game “has never been harder” while also calling for a radical overhaul of club list sizes.

Club lists have ballooned to 44 players and many in the industry believe the talent pool has been diluted and the game has suffered.

WATCH THE VIDEO AHEAD: Geelong coach Chris Scott optimistic about 2024 AFL season.

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Not only have lists expanded, but there are more teams, too, with a 19th team in Tasmania on the very near horizon.

But speaking exclusively to 7NEWS, the Geelong premiership mastermind says it’s time to trim lists, but allow players to move freely from lower leagues into the AFL system.

“I’m not a huge believer that the talent pool is a problem, necessarily,” Scott said.

Scott is one of the most influential coaches in the game. Credit: Getty Images

“I think there’s plenty (of talent) there. I probably think there are too many players on lists.”

Scott said as a young man he wasn’t shy in promoting an alternative opinion, and admits that side of him has never really left him.

“I do enjoy the brainstorming process as well. And I often say things that I haven’t thought through, but I say it more as a provocation rather than a firm opinion. And I think that’s where you sort of get the best discussions,” he said.

He said it was “complicated” to put an exact number on the ideal list size — “because it depends on how players move between the levels” — but somewhere between 33-35 would be a good number.

He said that figure depended, however, on being able to “move players from the feeder system into an AFL game seamlessly and with less than a week’s notice”.

“So assuming you can do that, I’d bring them down and really strengthen the lower level and make that a better comp,” he said.

Scott also said he disagreed with AFL legend Leigh Matthews recent call to slash interchange rotations in a bid to slow the tempo of the game down and reduce high-impact collisions.

Although he added, it should be a “rule for life” to not disagree with ‘Lethal’ Leigh.

“My personal view is it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle,” Scott said about slashing rotations.

Scott said he hadn’t given the matter a lot of thought, but wasn’t uncertain that the premise — which is tired players would reduce the amount ugly hits — would be the outcome.

“I don’t see it,” Scott said. “I just I just don’t see it. And I wish I had the answer for when it comes to player welfare, not just with head knocks, but but in general …

“(And) we should be thinking about player welfare, as much as we think about anything else, but I don’t know (about slashing rotations).

“They could easily (make) a good case that players (get) so tired that they can’t protect themselves (and) put themselves in harm’s way.

“I think the manipulation of the interchange bench hasn’t done one thing that anyone suggested it would, to my observation, but maybe I’m wrong.”

Scott said he was optimistic about his team of veterans and the year ahead but, if things did not according to plan, he would be upfront about it.

Geelong was the oldest team on average to win a grand final in 2022 and last year slipped down the ladder and finished 12th.

This year they are one of the hardest team’s to get a read on.

They head into the season without gun midfielder Cam Guthrie who has been sidelined for 8-10 weeks with a quad tendon injury that he suffered in a practice game.

“If overestimating a list is the biggest error (you can make), then voluntarily conceding (a season) might be the second biggest error,” he said.

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