AFL legend Malcolm Blight is hopeful leaner coaching panels and a purer form of the game will emerge after the financial firestorm sparked by the coronavirus shutdown passes.
The AFL and its 18 clubs have stood down around 80 per cent of their workforce in anticipation of a fall in revenue of up to $1 billion this year caused by the suspension of the premiership season.
Blight, who coached Adelaide to flags in 1997 and 1998, believes clubs will have no choice but to slash coaching budgets even after some level of normality returns.
“I think the amount of money being wasted inside football clubs, particularly in coaching departments, has been excessive” Blight told SEN on Thursday.
“I’ve thought it for years, I’ve said it for years.
“I hate people losing their jobs but this is going to be a reality check for everybody.”
Blight used the infamous footage of an Essendon coaching box from last season that was crammed with people and laptops to illustrate his point.
“It’s just illogical and impractical and for the football world to get away with it, I’ve been mystified for years by it,” he said.
“I hope it does change and that way we might get a pure game back.
“… It’s a players’ game, let the players play.
“We should be trying to help them through the little hiccups, not trying to invent the hiccups.”
Geelong chief executive Brian Cook agreed the AFL landscape would be significantly reshaped by the COVID-19 crisis that has turned the world on its head.
The respected club boss became emotional when discussing the human toll of a difficult week where he has had to stand down 100 of his 135 staff.
“A lot of things are going to be changed forever … I think football will be,“ Cook said on SEN.
“Certainly in the short to medium term (at least).
“People will not be the same whether they’re the people affected by the stand down or the people who are part of the stand down like my executives.
“They’ve been very emotional … it’s been a tough time.”