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Interchange cap is fine: Gibson

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  December 13, 2017 4:30 PM

Sam Gibson Presser December 13 Sam Gibson speaks to the media during his first pre-season as an Adelaide Crow.
AFL 2017 Training - Adelaide Crows 061217

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 6: Sam Gibson of the Crows in action during the Adelaide Crows training session at Football Park on December 6, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

You would hate to see those guys eliminated out of the game because we focus too much on running around and that sort of endurance-based athlete in the game.

He's a running machine who stands to gain from the AFL becoming a survival of the fittest.

But Adelaide midfielder Sam Gibson wants to see the number of interchange rotations stay where they are to prevent the extinction of the game's giants.

Teams are currently allowed to make 90 interchanges per game, a change made in 2016 after it was previously set at 120 in 2014.

There have been calls to reduce the interchange cap to as low as 40 in an effort to prevent congestion and have a more open game.

But Gibson – who won the Crows' 2km time trial earlier this month – doesn't believe another change is necessary. 

"I think we've tinkered with it a little bit, let's just leave it for now and let's just figure out a lay of the land and see where we're at in a few years' time before we start making adjustments just for the sake of it," Gibson told reporters on Wednesday.

"We're a game of all shapes and sizes, and there are big, tall blokes who probably need a break a bit more often.

"You would hate to see those guys eliminated out of the game because we focus too much on running around and that sort of endurance-based athlete in the game."

Gibson's comments follow those of Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, who last week said he was concerned lowering the interchange cap could lead players to use performance-enhancing drugs. 

However, recently retired St Kilda star Leigh Montagna is among those who want to see the interchange cap dropped to as low as 40, believing it would open the game up and lead to more scoring.

Gibson has made a strong impression at the Crows after being forced out of North Melbourne at the end of last season.

The 31-year-old – who played 130 consecutive games with the Kangaroos after being picked up by North in the 2011 rookie draft – can play on a wing and stop opponents in run-with roles.

The role of the tagger made a resurgence this year after becoming less prevalent at the elite level for the past few seasons.

"There are players in the competition who have the ability to tear a game apart, and if you can negate those players, and help your side win the game, I think there's a role there," he said.

"It's something I've done in the past and it's something that I'm comfortable with.

"If (Crows coach) Don (Pyke) came to me and said that's a role we want you to play, then I'd be happy to play it, if it's going to help the team."