Sunday, July 14, 2013

Player Names Could Be on AFL Jumpers Soon

The Australia Football league is looking closely at the possibility of having players’ names on the back of playes’ football jumpers, the AFL website reports. According to Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan, the idea is becoming popular and a number of people are pushing for the change.

“There are a number of people that think...that now is the time,’ he said.

Having numbers on the back of AFL jumpers became the norm in 1912, ultimately as a way for fans to identify players with the help of a Footy Record. But the two new teams that have joined the AFL in the past few years has meant that there have been a number of emerging players that fans have taken time to familiarise with.

Kevin Sheedy, coach of the expansion side Greater Western Sydney, is one who has got behind the idea in a big way. He claims that having player names of the back of AFL jumpers will make it easier for borderline fans of the sport to get involved and learn about the players. In Sydney and NSW, football is often plays second fiddle to the more popular Rugby League, and if GWS are going to establish a significant fan base, it’s important that their younger, lesser-known players be easily recognisable.

“I'm in the marketplace of explaining who we are so if people want to get to know Jeremy Cameron, people want to know Coniglio…we've got to try to make superstars in Sydney," he said.

Having player names on the back of jerseys is a part of most professional team sports, including basketball and American football for instance. However, for some sports it is up to the club themselves as to whether player names appear on team jerseys (certain rugby leagues and baseball). It is also customary in certain cricket competitions - including 20/20 - and in Australia’s International Rules series with Ireland.

The potential problem that the AFL have to think about how jumpers are going to accommodate for players with especially long surnames, such as Nathan Lovett-Murray and Lewis Roberts-Thompson. Further, you would think that surnames on players’ jumpers would not be readable to the majority of people in the stands, though it would certainly help when watching the replay on the big screen.

Do player names have a place of AFL jumpers? Will this initiative work? It certainly looks like we could soon find out.