A triple-premiership Hawthorn great has launched an extraordinary spray at the AFL over its treatment of grassroots football.
Hawks Team of the Century ruckman Don Scott has told 3AW Football podcast Footy: Then and Now that the AFL has “f—ed” football at a local level.
Scott, not known for pulling any punches with his opinions, said a host of decisions made in recent years, including the introduction of a grassroots salary cap, increased travel distances and forced purchases of merchandise and equipment through licensed suppliers, had been poor ones.
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“They’ve f—ed it,” a blunt Scott said.
“Don’t get me going on this.”
The 74-year-old took particular offence to efforts to change the thirds competition to under-19s.
‘Footy: Then and Now’ is a weekly podcast that gets you excited for the weekend ahead by revisiting famous VFL/AFL moments with the people who shaped them. Follow/Subscribe on Spotify, Apple, and Google Podcasts
“They don’t realise, in the country, you’ve got the boys when they’re playing under-17 or under-18 because they are still at school, but one year later they’re off to town, they’re looking for work that doesn’t exist in the country towns,” he said.
“So you have not got a thirds team…”
Scott said the “community” aspect of football had been “eroded” by those running the game.
“They are administrators who live in the city, they’ve got no idea about community in the country,” he said.
Scott also bemoaned the way the AFL was being promoted, calling for greater media access to players’ daily activities and personal lives.
“The game is the players,” he said.
“It’s not the coaches, it’s not the committee – it’s the players and those are the people we go to see.
“We want to know what they do, what they have for breakfast and all the rest.
“If the players can be interviewed, there will be some very, very interesting stories.”
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