Newcastle Jets boss Ernie Merrick is relishing the winds of change blowing through football in Australia – and especially the prospect of an extended subs bench.
Merrick last month courted controversy over speculation the number of A-League visa players could be expanded to six per team, and he questioned the merits of the idea.
But talking to the FTBL Podcast, he insists the changes are all moving in the right direction to take the game to the next level.
The owners of the A-League clubs are in the process of taking control of the competition from Football Federation Australia and are expected to bring a series of rule changes once the legalities are finalised.
"I like the people that are involved now," Merrick told FTBL. "I think the FFA did a great job, but in order to grow, we've got to run our own clubs and our own competition.
"It's happened in just about every other country in the world as well. And it's the way forward."
Innovations Merrick says he expects the bosses to make include the option of more subs on the sidelines and an improved youth league.
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"They're allowing for more younger players, under 23 players on the bench," he revealed. "Instead of five players, it might be up to seven, maybe more. And so that's a plus.
"Plus, there's an intention of improving the Youth League. Rather than having a mini league with only eight matches, the National Youth League will improve with the number of games they play.
"I think the standards improve, and I'd love to see them lifting the age a little bit higher than 20, as they did in English Premier League – the reserve teams are under 23s now, plus some seniors.
"So I think they've made a lot of good moves in those areas."
He added: "I did say the standard of refereeing has got to improve and I talked about visa players as well.
"But whatever they do, I think they've got a right to make changes and and have a look and see if it improves the game or not.
"And everything they're doing until now has been first class."