IT feels like every man and his dog has an opinion on whether Australian rules football - our country's national game - is broken.
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is one of many. The 52-year-old launched a scathing attack on the AFL and its rules after another congestion-laden weekend of footy.
The four-time premiership mentor declared his club's four-point win over North Melbourne on Sunday "a terrible spectacle" and urged umpires to reward tacklers and pay more free kicks to ease the current stop-start nature of the game.
"You put a lot of time and effort and endeavour into the game. We had 69 tackles, I don't think we had a free kick from a tackle," Clarkson said.
We had 69 tackles, I don't think we had a free kick from a tackle.Alastair Clarkson
"Sixty-nine tackles and not one of them can be adjudicated holding the ball? What's happened to our game? You can't have that many tackles and not one of them be incorrect disposal.
"And you wonder why the game is an arm wrestle and you can't get any open footy. (Sunday's) game was just ... if that's the spectacle we're trying to search for in our game, then our game is in a dreadful space."
Are more free kicks the answer? Potentially. Just 1187 have been paid so far in 2020.
Compare that to the 1446 that were paid at the same point in 2019, and there's an obvious discrepancy.
Free kicks break up the stoppage and remove congestion, in theory. So maybe the umpires do hold the key to unlocking the sport's dour state of affairs.
Essendon great Matthew Lloyd told AFL.com.au he favoured a three-point plan to produce higher scores.
Lloyd said the minimum kick length for marks should be moved from 15 metres to 20 or 25 to encourage less chipping and more offense.
The former full-forward also said umpires had a role to play, but felt speeding up stoppages was a better approach. He said backwards kicks should also be instant play on to force teams to play in a more attacking way.
It's understandable the AFL and spectators want to watch a free-flowing version of the game.
But the counter-argument to punishing coaches for playing defensive tactics is that it undermines the integrity of sport as a whole.
Sport is an entertainment business, and has loads of positive functions at all levels. At the elite level, people aren't playing socially. They're playing to win premierships.
The beauty of all sports is that coaches, players and people have different philosophies on how the game is best played.
Is punishing coaches who prioritise defence as the most efficient form of sport wrong? It's a discussion to be had. We all want to see goals and scoring, but it might be a blow of a different kind to footy if coaches are forced to alter tactics and lose their individuality.
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