The AFL has announced it will divide the competition into two weight divisions from 2019 onwards, a bold move designed to ensure that small-bodied players do not ever come into contact with players who are physically larger.
This follows a horrifying incident that occurred in last weekend’s match between West Coast and Port Adelaide, when a ruckman tackled a player who happened to be lighter than him.
Under the new system, each club will field a featherweight side which will play a curtain-raiser match prior to the heavyweights. Only players who weigh less than 75kg will be eligible for the featherweight division.
Some within the AFL community have welcomed the move, but many are concerned that the overhaul is misguided and unnecessary, including those who stand to benefit from the change.
“I think it’s a bit short-sighted, no pun intended,” said Port Adelaide forward Jake Neade, who at 64kg is the lightest player in the league.
“I’m more than happy to play against blokes who are significantly heavier than me. It’ll be no fun playing against a bunch of short, skinny cunts.”
AFL chairman Gil McLachlan stood firm behind the plan, pointing out that injuries will be far less common under the new dual-division system.
“You wouldn’t make a puppy share a zoo enclosure with an elephant, so why would we make Jake Neade share a football field with Aaron Sandilands?” he said, while smoking a Cuban cigar.
When asked how this related to his statement about injuries, McLachlan replied, “It’s 2018, bro,” and walked away.
Preparations for the featherweight division are already in full swing, with many players making dramatic changes to their diet and exercise regimes in the hope of qualifying. Food company Lite n’ Easy are reportedly being considered as major sponsors.