Star players see future for maligned AFLX

The revamped AFLX divided opinion, but if the players have their way the much-maligned concept is here to stay.

Whether that's the case or not will largely come down to the television ratings after a smallish crowd turned out to support Friday night's tournament at Marvel Stadium, won by Jack Riewoldt's Rampage.

The final crowd figure of 23,828 appeared a touch generous given the top deck was closed, but there's no doubt the AFL pulled out all the stops to make it a family-friendly fun time.

The players were familiar, as were the skills - but that's about where the similarities to a normal evening out at the AFL ended.

From the rectangular pitch, with a rock climbing wall at one corner and a bar diagonally opposite, to the light-up goalposts to the multi-coloured beanbags scattered along the city wing to the fan zones and bubble machines - it was all a bit different.

On the field, the ball pinged from end to end, there was the occasional high mark, with Riewoldt and Isaac Heeney pulling down the biggest grabs of the night.

Riewoldt shared one of the lighter moments with teammates Patrick Cripps, who converted an NFL-style field goal held by the Richmond star.

But with made-up rules, a notable lack of intensity and no traditional team allegiances to get excited about it lacked the passion of a normal AFL encounter or even an intra-club practice match.

"Should be called AFL EX - never seen again," tweeted retired Hawthorn premiership player Xavier Ellis.

"#AFLX Trying to like it but it's a little snoozy. What's the verdict?" former Adelaide coach Graham Cornes tweeted.

But chief AFLX spruiker Patrick Dangerfield, whose Bolts finished third, maintained critics missed the point.

"It polarises because it is so different," Dangerfield said.

"But it's got to be different because the next generation, young kids now, are different. They see the game in a different light.

"They're less inclined to follow teams ... they love following the stars - we've seen that overseas.

"I think it (has a future) ... when you have the buy-in from the players - you could see the enjoyment they and the fans had which was clear to see."

It might have been a bit of kick and giggle, but Riewoldt was genuinely delighted to propel his Rampage to a grand final win over Nat Fyfe's Flyers.

With less than 30 seconds left, Riewoldt converted a set shot for a 20-point super goal from a tight angle to give his side an 84-67 win.

"It was good fun ... I loved it," Riewoldt said.

"The game was the final to what has been a fantastic last two days.

"It's not very often that you get 50 of the best AFL players together without their (own) colours on, to put themselves in a vulnerable position to try something new.

"I think everyone absolutely loved it."

After a scratchy start in the earlier matches, the grand final was a fitting end to a night of popcorn football fun.

"I think we saw from the buy-in from the players that this concept has legs," Fyfe said.

"It doesn't in any way try to take away from regular footy - it's designed to be fun and complement our game.

"I think it potentially has a future."

For the record, Eddie Betts' Deadly team finished last with one win and two losses and no injuries were reported.