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Pendlebury wants longer season, wildcard weekend

“So whether that’s extending the season and play everyone twice, or a few more games in a season, I think most players would rather play than do pre-seasons.

“I’m an advocate of extending the finals series any way we can because I think that’s the most exciting football of the year, fans seem to love it.

Scott Pendlebury trains on Friday.

Scott Pendlebury trains on Friday.Credit:Getty Images

“The closest thing to that throughout the season is the rivalry games like the Showdown or West Coast-Freo games, so maybe have an extra rivalry round in the season.

“I think a wildcard would certainly keep those sides 11, 12, 13 [on the ladder] in the hunt for longer and gives their fans more excitement, gives the game more excitement. I feel most years at about round 16 it’s a bit of a lull for three-four weeks, so I think a wildcard would be pretty cool.

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“I’ve said a best-of-three grand final series would be amazing to play in. It’s just whatever we do that’s different would create attention first and then it would become the new norm.

“It’s a good opportunity this year to look at games with shorter quarters and see how it looks, the talk of a night grand final we’ll have a look at that if it happens and see how it goes, then you can debate from there if you like it or not.”

However, Pendlebury is also excited by the prospect of a 17-game home-and-away season which clubs are faced with this year.

“You probably can’t afford to lose a couple of games, and [expect] you’ll hit form and you’ll just find a way to finish in the top four or the top eight – every game is going to be so crucial,” he said.

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“I’m looking forward to see how it plays out, what sides do, how sides adjust pretty quickly if you have a couple of bad losses in a row whether they change the way they play or you’ve got to back in what you know.

“I think we’ll see more exciting football because those guys that are really explosive, powerful athletes aren’t going to get taken into the real deep waters of ‘red time’ because it’s not there anymore.”

Pendlebury believed most players would be feeling trepidation about how ready their bodies were in the lead-up to the season restart on June 11.

“Now it comes back to how teams manage their athletes, manage the program, how much work they do, what they value in their training programs and we’ll see how we go,” he said.

The 2010 Norm Smith medallist was against extending the interchange bench from four to six, or even eight, players for this year in the event the second-tier competitions were allowed to be staged too.

“I don’t think we need too many more guys on the bench because we’ve got shorter quarters but I understand the call for it if there’s not going to be anywhere the rest of your list can play,” he said.

“You need to keep those guys engaged, you can’t just keep training them and flogging them on the training track. So if there’s no alternative for those guys to play I don’t mind the idea of having six on the bench to filter guys through that are ready to keep them hungry and give them a taste of senior football.”

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