Essendon’s chief executive has become the latest member of the AFL community to question the league’s widely reported ban on skinfold testing.
Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell has criticised the AFL’s reported decision to ban clubs from using skinfold testing on draft prospects.
Body-shaming concerns are thought to have motivated the league to ban the test, which involves pinching the skin on various parts of the body to assess body-fat percentage of draftees.
The AFL had informed clubs before the start of the 2021 season that it had been considering scrapping the dreaded test from the draft period but was met with pushback.
Channel 7 broke news over the weekend that it had nevertheless been shelved.
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West Coast premiership player Will Schofield was among those to question the move, and on Monday, Campbell added to the chorus of disapproval on SEN.
“I could sort of understand it at a grassroots level, I think there’s some merit there, but we are a performance-based industry,” he said.
“A big part of that is the physical aspect of that.
“I’m not sure we’ve got any skinfold metrics that are included in contracts these days, but it still is a big part of the testing that the high performance does on the players.”
Campbell suggested there might be other ways to assess the body fat percentage of potential draftees.
“There are different ways to go about it, body mass index and everything else like that,” he said.
“It’s not my area, but I’d say there’s still got to be some sort of form of assessment that needs to be included in that part of the game.”
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes was stronger in his words about the ban, pointing to skinfold tests becoming commonplace for players picked up in the draft.
“This is just ridiculous,” he said on SEN SA.
“What are we setting these players up for? They walk into an AFL club they are going to have their skinfolds tested, so I would have thought getting them accustomed to it is a good thing.
“Society has shifted, I understand that, but this isn’t your average person off the street, this is a person who is aspiring to become an elite athlete.”
Campbell’s Bombers hold picks 11, 51, 56 and 87 in the national draft, which begins on November 24.
The Dons may consider targeting a tall ruck-forward, given they recorded the least total hit-outs of any top eight side in 2021 and also struggled to register contested marks inside 50.
The retirement of defender-turned-forward Cale Hooker presents another reason for Essendon to replenish its options up front.