The AFL will look to find a middle ground between the "extremes" of the last two seasons when it considers how it will restrict the use of runners ahead of season 2020.

The allowance of runners onto the field of play was a significant discussion point during the third Competition Committee meeting, which was held at AFL House on Wednesday.

It follows recent criticisms from Sydney coach John Longmire, who bemoaned his inability to no longer send runners onto the field during play to instruct his young side.

The AFL's football operations manager, Steve Hocking, chaired the meeting and revealed the League is now attempting to find a balance in terms of how often they are used.

Brisbane's Chris Fagan is part of the Competition Committee and acted the representative for AFL coaches on Wednesday, with former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott – who was due to attend – unable to make the meeting due to a separate engagement.

According to Hocking, Fagan expressed a desire to be able to use runners more often.

"Certainly, Chris made his thoughts known to us," Hocking said.

"It was respectful, the discussion that went on. We've currently done 17 of 18 mid-season reviews and most of those clubs have shared their views. It wasn't just left to the Competition Committee to talk about runners, we've got good feedback from clubs.

"It's worth saying that where runners were at last season was extreme. Where the runners are at this year is extreme as well. We just need to find some middle ground."

Part of the discussion on runners centred around potentially capping the number of times they can enter the field of play during either a quarter or an entire game.

"Depending on which coach you speak to, it might look like that," Hocking said.
"A majority would like to see that. I think that's just based around strategy, which we understand and acknowledge. There is a need for that within the game.

"We'll work through it and just see where it lands at the appropriate time."

Other significant discussion points raised during Wednesday's meeting included:

  • The state of the game
  • The 2018 AFL injury report
  • The structure of the pre-season
  • The potential for a Mid-Season Trade Period
  • Player movement