Mid-season rule trials 'demeaning' for AFL

AFL great Leigh Matthews says the potential trialling of major rule changes in late-season games would be "demeaning" to the competition, while Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew has reservations about his side being used as guinea pigs.

The AFL is set to introduce rule tweaks next season and will consider putting them to the test in matches that have no bearing on the top eight during this year's final rounds.

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan on Wednesday revealed three games on consecutive weekends had been earmarked for potential trials.

"We're certainly discussing it, whether that's appropriate ... the emerging view is that it is," McLachlan told SEN radio.

Test games could include bottom-placed Carlton's games against Fremantle in round 21 and the Western Bulldogs in round 22, as well as the round 22 clash between Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Dew said the Suns had not been contacted by the AFL about trials but would be reluctant to change their players' focus.

"It sounds like it would be a hard thing to do," Dew told reporters.

"We want to play every game to win, not trial (changes).

"There might not be implications for the finals but there's players' careers and club reputations."

McLachlan was confident the trials would not compromise the integrity of the competition but AFL Hall of Fame member Matthews believed otherwise.

"It seems demeaning to me, a bit like it's demeaning the game," Matthews told Macquarie Sports Radio.

"I kind of thought when I played myself and coached my players, every game was like a grand final."

McLachlan said the trial would only go ahead with consent from the competing teams.

A major hurdle for the league would be finding a way to ensure the draft order is not compromised.

Carlton appear certain to finish bottom of the ladder and receive the No.1 draft pick but just four points separate the 14th-placed Bulldogs from 17th-placed Suns.

McLachlan was briefed on Monday by AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking on potential rule changes for next year, with the introduction of starting positions at centre bounces believed to be top of the agenda.

The AFL's competition committee will meet on Wednesday but McLachlan said it was unlikely Hocking would emerge with confirmed changes for next season, with any tweaks needing to be approved by the AFL executive.