The AFL medical sub has been brought into contention once again as club’s have been suggested to be manipulating the rule to introduce a fresh player into the game.
Recently, Richmond’s Ben Miller was subbed from the game in the final quarter against Fremantle due to cramping, injecting livewire and small forward Maurice Rioli.
This prompted a debate surrounding the purpose of the rule and whether or not team’s have been using it to further their agenda, with high amounts of subbed players returning the following week.
AFL Doctors’ Association boss Barry Rigby has called on the AFL to review the rule, saying that players subbed out from matches should be ruled out for 12 days, eliminating the potential for tactical use.
“Generally speaking we would like to see the rule changed,” Rigby said
“We are concerned we can be under the microscope and under pressure to interchange a player for reasons other than medical reasons.
“We try to make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the health and safety of the player.
“We think that if you are going to have a rule that the player is subbed out and cannot play for 12 days along the lines of concussion, then that’s the rule. The player wouldn’t return for 12 days.”
EXCLUSIVE: AFL club doctors have called on the league to overhaul the sub rule over fears it is being manipulated for tactical reasons.
Story: https://t.co/TUP3SuBpGO pic.twitter.com/450hdf4HkY
— SuperFooty (AFL) (@superfooty) July 25, 2022
So far in 2022, there have been 23 instances where players have been subbed out of the game but lined up in the next match, putting the rule under the microscope – which states subbed players have been deemed by doctors to likely miss at least one game.
Earlier in the year, football personality Kane Cornes questioned the use of the AFL’s medical sub rule after several occasions this season where a subbed player has played the following the week.
“This medical sub was supposed to be only for an injured player who would not be allowed or available to play the following week,” Cornes said.
“So can we just scrap it? Because it’s one of the great grey areas in football.
“Either just have five on the bench or bring back the ridiculous normal sub, where you can use as a tactic and bring on whenever you like, it just means that player can’t come back on.”
Players subbed who played the following week:
|Round 1||Brisbane||Dayne Zorko||Foot|
|Round 1||Geelong||Jeremy Cameron||Hip pointer|
|Round 2||Richmond||Thomson Dow||Knee|
|Round 2||Hawthorn||Chad Wingard||Hamstring|
|Round 2||Port Adelaide||Trent McKenzie||Ankle|
|Round 3||Hawthorn||Jack Scrimshaw||Shoulder|
|Round 3||North Melbourne||Ben McKay||Quad|
|Round 3||West Coast||Jamaine Jones||Leg|
|Round 4||Gold Coast||Jy Farrar||Hamstring|
|Round 5||Collingwood||Darcy Cameron||Leg|
|Round 5||Gold Coast||Mabior Chol||Adductor|
|Round 6||Port Adelaide||Robbie Gray||Knee|
|Round 6||Essendon||Jayden Laverde||Knee|
|Round 7||Port Adelaide||Mitch Georgiades||Calf|
|Round 7||Gold Coast||Connor Budarick||Ankle|
|Round 10||North Melbourne||Curtis Taylor||Ribs|
|Round 10||West Coast||Luke Shuey||Back|
|Round 10||Collingwood||Mason Cox||Finger|
|Round 12||Brisbane||Darcy Gardiner||Ribs|
|Round 15||Brisbane||Jarryd Lyons||Chest|
|Round 16||Fremantle||Matt Taberner||Hamstring|
|Round 17||Carlton||Jack Newnes||Corked Leg|
|Round 17||North Melbourne||Jaidyn Stephenson||Hip|
After the completion of round 19, there was a total of 192 substitutes from the 18 teams.
Tally of players subbed who played the following week:
What is the AFL’s medical sub rule?
The introduction of the medical sub in the AFL was meant to provide clubs reprieve when a player of theirs was struck down by injury and ruled out of the game, allowing the 23rd player to take the field.
Club doctors were given the duty to protect the player, putting their health first, despite the desire to get back on the field and help the team.
Under AFL legislation, the rule was brought in under the assumption that “due to the nature of the injury sustained, it is reasonably determined the player will be medically unfit to participate in any match for at least the next 12 days.”
As a part of the process, the clubs must provide a medical certificate that is approved by the AFL to ensure the player’s wellbeing is put above all else.
More: Want more AFL? Watch Warriors On The Field celebrating Aboriginal Australia and its long history and association with the AFL. Streaming on AMAZON PRIME VIDEO