Substitutes increased from 4 to 5

Via FFA: Today the Football Federation has confirmed that from next season the amount of substitutes on the bench will go up from 4 to 5. The intention of the move is to provide greater tactical flexibility for coaches in their substitutes, and there is also a belief that it might further encourage coaches to pick younger players in the games, with the knowledge they have an extra player on the bench to replace them with. The increase was reportedly strongly encouraged and campaigned for by all of the coaches around the league.

More players on the bench, but the plastic chairs survive

More players on the bench, but the plastic chairs survive

This move makes a tonne of sense obviously, and anything that gives coaches greater degrees of flexibility is a good thing, and they’ve been using 5 man benches for the finals series for about 4 years now anyway. The foolish argument about ‘travel costs for an extra player’ was always a flawed one given that most weeks for away games teams have their NYL squads with them, and they typically travel with a spare player anyway when they don’t. It will be interesting now to see how coaches use this new found flexibility, and with Brisbane having a lot of younger players hopefully it allows them to get some more time in and around the first team squad. From the sounds of it however, they will still be using the plastic ‘Bunnings’ chairs for the upcoming season –except in Wellington for some bizarre reason-, despite almost all of the grounds having proper bench capacity.

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