AFL state of the game: Starting positions and fewer rules the answer

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert


126 Have your say

    The laws of the game have dominated the conversation for much of this season, a situation that was sure to ramp up during the bye rounds and has happened accordingly.

    Fewer games to focus on is one reason, combined with several one-way contests. On Saturday, the three games were decided by an average of exactly 12 goals.

    But ultimately, the football has become dull. The bad matches appear to be far outweighing the good. Congestion is the buzzword, and the game would be better for less of it.

    Based on talk from those in the know (read Gerard Whateley on AFL360 and Jake Niall in The Sunday Age), change is coming at the end of this season and it won’t be small.

    I’ve traditionally been a ‘leave the game alone’ guy. But here’s the thing – the AFL hasn’t left the game alone.

    They’ve screwed it over with their constant rule changes, tweaks, manipulations and interpretations. Expansion certainly hasn’t helped, adding one more game of TV rights per round, but reducing the depth of quality across the competition. What a black hole Queensland football, and particularly the Gold Coast, has become. Free agency hasn’t changed things for the better.

    The coaches are conservative, which is an enormous problem, and they need to be stopped. Attacking football is more likely to be winning football, but those that don’t have the weapons to pull it off prefer defensive method rather than backing the players in.

    We only have to look at what Collingwood is producing this year. Last season, they looked limited – slow, poorly skilled, indecisive. This year, they are moving the ball quickly and are one of the hot teams of the competition.

    Chris Mayne

    Chris Mayne of the Magpies (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

    In simple terms, the game has gone to shit. Intervention is required.

    Starting positions are a must, and are almost certainly a part of the future. This does not mean zones, which would be unrealistic and unworkable.

    But starting positions should help lengthen the ground, spreading the players out over further, thus easing congestions.

    Starting positions should incorporate the 50m arc, but to achieve meaningful change they must include the goal square. It might be a case of two from each team starting in there, and another two from each side inside the arc.

    These starting positions would be enforced at centre bounces, certainly. But this will likely not be enough to ensure congestion is not a problem in general play in between goals.

    Enforcing these starting positions at all stoppages might seem extreme, but it’s a conversation worth having. Perhaps at boundary throw-ins as a secondary measure, and any stoppages within the centre square as well.

    There are people who want more free kicks paid, for reasons unknown. What we need is less rules, and less free kicks.

    Think of what happens in the closing stages of close games. The footy is frenetic, desperation on both sides. Importantly, the umpires almost always put the whistle away. The players play, nothing soft gets paid, and a physical sport thrives.

    There are far too many rules, most of which can be removed.

    The sliding rule is the obvious one that has to go. If you can be first to the football, that shouldn’t come with punishment. It was an overreaction to one injury, and good judges will argue that it has in fact increased the likelihood of concussions as people keep their feet and clash heads when contesting the ball.

    Front-on contact in a marking contest is another that has to go. It makes no sense. We want players running back with the flight of the ball, putting themselves at risk. Courage to do so is rightly applauded.

    Blocking in a marking contest also needs to go. When did this become a thing? We’ve already got too high, holding and in the back. Why is there a need for anything else in a marking contest? If you’ve got good position, and are strong enough to hold it against an out-of-position opponent, then why should you be penalised?

    ‘Hands’ in the back can also go the way of the dodo. Let the umpire make a judgement about whether a push happened, rather than paying a free for incidental contact. That would be easier for them to do if the umpires had less rules to worry about in these marking contests.

    The less rules we have, the fewer interpretations there will be. That will mean less ambiguity, and less inconsistency.

    The AFL has put the game in the position it is by making it too complicated to adjudicate. Stripping it back will solve all manner of ills.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (126)

    • June 12th 2018 @ 5:54am
      Dinga said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:54am | ! Report

      Bit of a left field idea, how about getting rid of holding the ball?
      It would encourage the ball players to attack and take the game on and get rid of those ugly situations when both players are looking to tackle rather than take possession.
      It’d also get players to develop techniques to knock or strip the ball rather than clamp down so there’d be better ball flow.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 10:12am
        Tanami Mehmet said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        That’ll just lead to players holding it in and a ball up. That leads to more players around the ball and it goes nowhere. If umpires paid free kicks for holding the ball and particularly for incorrect disposal, rather than letting attempted disposal go, players would have to spread to cover ground and easing congestion.

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2018 @ 10:50am
        JamesH said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        I actually prefer that idea to the modern concept of penalising players when they haven’t really had a genuine opportunity to dispose of the footy. I probably wouldn’t get rid of the rule altogether though or it would be abused by players trying to lock the ball up and kill time.


        Cam, I agree with your sentiment that the state of the game needs reviewing but I’m a bit confused by some of what you’ve said.

        “Front-on contact in a marking contest is another that has to go. It makes no sense. We want players running back with the flight of the ball, putting themselves at risk. Courage to do so is rightly applauded.”

        What you’ve described is not a free kick anyway. A player who takes his eyes off the ball and interferes with an opponent going for a mark is either charging (r15.4.4) or making prohibited contact by blocking or bumping a player attempting to mark the ball (r15.4.5(d)). These are important rules that need to be retained to protect players genuinely going for the ball. If umpires are penalising players for front-on contact in a marking contest when they have eyes on the footy then they’re just making incorrect decisions.

        “Blocking in a marking contest also needs to go. When did this become a thing? We’ve already got too high, holding and in the back. Why is there a need for anything else in a marking contest? If you’ve got good position, and are strong enough to hold it against an out-of-position opponent, then why should you be penalised?”

        Again, see r15.4.5(d) and also r15.4.5(e) (blocking outside of 5m from the ball). Blocking in a marking contest has been illegal for as long as I can remember. You can use your body to compete for the mark but you can’t shepherd another player from the contest when you have no intention to compete for the mark yourself. Players already get away with this too often. We should WANT players competing for marks, not being prevented from jumping at the footy.

        I share your frustration re the sliding rule but I think this is more poor interpretation than a problem with the rule itself. R15.4.5(a) prohibits contact below the knees (or above the shoulders) in a manner likely to cause injury. How many of these free kicks are being paid for contact that doesn’t actually satisfy this rule? There is a place for prohibiting dangerous conduct; the problem is over-officiating.

        My favourite suggestion I have seen is still reducing the number of players on the field to 16 per side. The most logical way to relieve congestion is to simply have less players around the footy. It also addresses the playing list depth issue. I suppose you could combine it with a requirement that each team has at least one player in each 50m arc at all times, which would draw other players away from the footy to avoid leaving the opposition’s full forward one-out.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 2:51pm
          Peter said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

          I’d rather you had written the article. You talk more sense and actually use references.

          • Roar Guru

            June 12th 2018 @ 3:56pm
            JamesH said | June 12th 2018 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

            Lol. In fairness to Cam, the umpires do go call it ‘front on contact’ on the field, when really they mean ‘charging’ or ‘blocking’. They’re responsible for the confusion.

            • June 15th 2018 @ 9:58pm
              elvis said | June 15th 2018 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

              Great response to the article. From an outsider looking in, the answer looks simple.
              Problem, too much congestion.
              What relieves congestion? A kick out of it.
              Solution award more free kicks in congestion.
              More for holding the ball, incorrect disposal, high tackles, bad attitude, anything etc.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 2:51pm
        Eddy Jay said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

        Why not just get rid of the ball completely? That will be the end result of all the rule changes by the AFL.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 6:28am
      Jon Kau said | June 12th 2018 @ 6:28am | ! Report

      The only problem with no hands in the back are the stagers, who play for free kicks (Chad Wingard a perfect example).

      The blocking rule, I’m fine with. Everyone should be able to compete in a marking contest. Unfair if you have a larger type player blocking a small forward.

      However, you are right about too many rules. Everyone gets confused when a new rule is in and then change the way they play to avoid it, the umpires get too involved and almost want to be recognised and the fans struggle to understand the rules too. There is also a bit of ambiguity and guessing from the umps so less grey area decisions and more black and white.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 12th 2018 @ 9:38am
        Pedro The Fisherman said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Don’t forget Robbie Gray and Alex Rance. Both worthy of an Oscar from time to time!
        I would remove the microphones from the umpires and take the numbers off their backs. We do not attend or watch footy to see the umpires. Make them more anonymous!
        No new rules, please. Just enforce the rules that we have and pay the first free, especially the holding the ball and dropping the ball rule.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 2:59pm
          Eddy Jay said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

          Have a look at the 1982 Grand Final. I watched it a few weeks ago, and I’m not entirely sure what the rule was, but it seems like if a player was touched when they had the ball, it was deemed holding the ball. It’s hard to work it out and confusing, but that’s what it looked like. The problem with AFL rule changes is the unintended consequences and knee-jerk reactions. If they’re after high-scoring matches, look at the rules from the 1970s and 1980s, a period of high scoring, and re-introduce those. The appeal of AFL is goals and speed, but modern day AFL has more in common with rugby and soccer. I still like AFL but it could be so much better. Time to go back to the future.

          • June 13th 2018 @ 9:25pm
            Bob said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

            If you get caught with the ball tough- so you should be penalised. Allowing guys who look like rugby players to hold onto the ball all day makes the game like- rugby and is boring as all crap to watch.

            If you can’t dispose of the ball by handball or kick- it’s illegal, always has been. There is no rule that forces you to pick the ball up. Have a look at KB in the 1982 GF. He was the master of knowing how not to get caught.

        • June 14th 2018 @ 6:33am
          George Apps said | June 14th 2018 @ 6:33am | ! Report

          I totally agree with you about the umpires, I’ve hated the microphones from day 1 – who wants to know what they think. We’re making them more damn important than the players! Is there a dropping the ball rule, if so I haven’t seen it paid for years!

          • June 15th 2018 @ 3:18pm
            RichieTiger said | June 15th 2018 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            There is no “dropping the ball rule”. A tackled player must dispose of properly i.e. handball or kick. If the ball is knocked loose during a tackle it is play on.

            • Roar Guru

              June 15th 2018 @ 3:33pm
              Cat said | June 15th 2018 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

              Incorrect. Only if a player has been deemed not to have prior opportunity may the ball be knocked out with no penalty. If the player with the ball has been deemed to have had prior opportunity and the ball is knocked out it is incorrect disposal.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 9:41am
        bilo said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Wingard is a perfect example! ever heard of Alex Rance?

    • June 12th 2018 @ 7:36am
      BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      I’m surprised you didn’t mention BLOWOUTs being a problem with the game Cam !
      Only 2 this round woopee! – and that game yesterday was tending that way, yet it deserved not to be.

      Anyway, I have a bucket list of suggestions, in no particular order…
      1. Get rid of the bump. It’s just too dangerous and will eventually just have to go – starting with lower age groups.
      2. Get rid of in the back – a lot of the time it’s just too hard to pick. Make tackling be about ‘claiming/wrapping up’ an opponent with the ball, from any angle, between the shoulders and knees.
      3. Two players (nominated by their numbers ?) in the back and forward 50 at all times
      4. At the centre bounce only the starting 4 are allowed in the centre square until the ball is cleared from there.
      5. When a goal is scored the opposing team gets to kick the ball in, from the 50 line. Similar concept to basketball where the opposition get the ball after a score.

      Point 5 I mention because it could put a dampener on games blowing out !

      5. and 4. could well give fullbacks(with booming kicks), high marking forwards and ruckmen a look in at the Brownlow again ?

      And, get rid of DELIBERATE oob – replaced with last touch – a no brainer

      • June 12th 2018 @ 9:48am
        BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        . . . forgot to mention Point 5 could also lead to more scoring !

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 9:52am
          Cat said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          You should be opposed to more scoring. Bigger scores means greater potential for your blow out fear.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 10:38am
            Pope Paul VII said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

            I love blow outs and shoot outs. Roos’ admirable but flooding Sydney Swans’ gave birth to the belief that low scoring, close footy was the only type of exciting footy.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 11:07am
              BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

              I don’t mind the occasional shoot out ! could well increase under Point 5 ?

              Blowouts on the other hand are ridiculous and an embarrassment – no place for them in a professional competition – certainly not at the frequency that they occur in today’s game.

            • Roar Guru

              June 12th 2018 @ 5:21pm
              hairy fat man said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

              I’d rather watch a 150-100 match than a 70-65 one.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 9:40pm
                BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:40pm | ! Report

                You sound like a man . . . that doesn’t like excitement !

                The only advantage of what you prefer to watch is that you can beat the traffic and leave before 3/4 time, knowing full well the result !

              • June 12th 2018 @ 10:27pm
                MQ said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

                I think most would rather that both scorelines were possible, but we haven’t seen an example of the former for 15 years

          • June 12th 2018 @ 11:01am
            BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

            My ideal outcome from Point 5 would be more scoring and less blowouts – have your cake and eat it :).

            You would never know unless it was trialled.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 10:17am
        Brian said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        On the bump I agree. Don’t think you can get rid of in the back without some ball winners having some helath issues I think it has to stay. I don’t mind the centre square one although its not particularly important if you adopt point 5. My only issue with the last one is if a team is more then 6/12 points up towards the end of the game its pretty much over as it would be almost impossible to get 3 goals in the last 3 minutes to win it.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 10:48am
          BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

          That could be the case – but it wouldn’t be impossible. With blowouts in todays game the game can be . . . ALL OVER ! at half or quarter time – with it being HEAPS LESS POSSIBLE that a team could come back from there !

        • June 12th 2018 @ 10:55am
          BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          Agree the centre square issue would be less relevant, but still has a place at the beginning of each quarter which can give a side impetus.
          Furthermore Point 5 would get rid of ridiculous dodgy bounces. I’ve always thought it ridiculous to insist that the Ump bounce the ball – but under Point 5, I could live with it !

      • June 12th 2018 @ 12:53pm
        Perry Bridge said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        #Big Al

        Nah……retain the centre bounce after a goal.

        No ‘rewards’ to the team conceding a goal. The neutral restart is a major feature (not a flaw) of our game. It ensures there’s no strategic time wasting plays happening.

        For example: you kick a goal but are still 4 points down with 30 seconds to go – – and you want possession to go to the team that is in front by 4 points who will try to milk the clock and chip it around……nah….prefer a 50/50 contest in the middle where anything can happen.

        What you described does remind me of the ‘Mercy’ rule in juniors – when the margin hits 60 points or more, then after each goal the trailing team gets a free kick from true CHF (edge of the square). Designed to wake up the freezing forwards……who….invariably are no good and the ball just rebounds straight away anyway.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 1:46pm
          BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

          The arguments against my point 5. I think are pretty weak IMO !
          @Brian ‘..6/12 points up towards the end …’ and your “…4 points down with 30 seconds to go…”.

          Honestly. how often does this happen ? It’s way WAY more common for the game to be ALL OVER with 20 min to go !
          As I said earlier, the game yesterday, pies v Melb. could and should have been way closer than it was !
          Instead it veered off into being a blowout by 3/4 time !

          • June 12th 2018 @ 4:08pm
            Perry Bridge said | June 12th 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

            Your using my example of a scenario that would be exploited as my main argument – – my main argument based on two fundamental notions.

            A. don’t reward the team conceding the goal with a possession. (our game is NOT basketball, NOT soccer, NOT rugby)

            B. retain our greatest feature – the neutral restart. (Anything can happen – unlike basketball where a certain time out you know that you can afford to concede ‘x’ number of baskets and because you know you get the ball you can wind down the shot clock and kill off the game).

            I extend ‘B’ via
            C. the neutral restart is a key to the variety of body types in our game. Ruckmen, stoppage-midfielders.

            I really, really don’t see this element of the game as being ‘broken’.

            TO me – it’s bad enough already that the defending team get’s a free kick in the goal square for conceding a behind (let alone they no longer have to wait for the goal umpire to wave the flag) – – we saw how this became a preferred option to the ball going out of bounds. Concede a behind, get rewarded. I’d prefer to see a bounce at the top of the goal square for ‘rushed’ behinds as a change to come in.

            Our game is traditionally about the contest for the ball. Let’s not start removing these contests!!! Instead, let’s celebrate that even when it resembles a rugby maul that we have NO ONE encumbered by being ‘off-side’, there’s not a massive book of murky rules about what you can and can’t do (when raking your studs over the back of some blokes head).

            • June 12th 2018 @ 9:19pm
              BigAl said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

              I’m afraid I find this response to be :
              1) not addressing any of the issues that I identify as problems for the game;
              2) not addressing meaningfully any of the solutions that I am suggesting;
              3) full of red herrings in that …
              ” (our game is NOT basketball, NOT soccer, NOT rugby)” – well of course it’s not, but it IS a team sport and a ball game, so it’s highly unlikely there won’t be similarities !

              ” retain our greatest feature the neutral restart. ” – really ??!! I have NEVER heard this claim before – it sounds like you think it’s up there with the Sherrin It’s not the ‘neutral restart’ I’m worried about, it’s the rest of the bl#@dy game.

              “the neutral restart is a key to the variety of body types in our game. Ruckmen, stoppage-midfielders” -once again REALLY??!! the players today are pretty much all the same i.e. fleetfooted midfielders – just check the list of Brownlow medal winners for the last.. how many years..
              I feel my point 5 along with no entry into the centre square until the ball is cleared by one of the starting 4 could, as I have stated bring strong fullbacks(with booming kicks), high marking multiple scoring forwards and ruckmen back into prominence in the game.

              You go off on a tangent about: …contest for the ball…; umpires waving flags…; …being offside… which have nothing to do with what I’m suggesting !!!???

              And finally, you add nothing, zilch to resolving what I see as huge issues facing the game.

              Maybe you don’t see blowouts as a huge problem for the game ?

              • June 13th 2018 @ 1:36pm
                Perry Bridge said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report


                To be perfectly frank – I thought you were joking!!!

                Blow outs have always happened. Equalisation measures have only done so much – and the move to greater free-agency is to me – the greatest threat. Free agency isn’t going to help Gold Coast or Fremantle nearly as much as it has been helping Collingwood.

                Removing the bump won’t fix blow outs.

                re the neutral restart – has it never occurred to you that our game is about ‘contested ball’. IT is right from the outset. The ball up is what sets the tone. Contest for the ball from the very beginning. No kick off. No taking terms at first pass.

                The rest of the game – well, teach umpires how to actually adjudicate the contests up forward. Way too much arm chopping and scragging of out big key forwards. To me – the greatest excitement is the anticipation of a contested mark within range of goal. At present – and looking at the free awarded against Taylor Walker on the weekend – the umpires have got it horribly wrong.

                If we actually get this right – and if that means that Ben Brown and Tex Walker can kick regular bags of goals because they get a fair crack at the ball – then – that encourages faster ball movement to the key forwards.

                Just a minor tweak. We have 3 umpires, we should be able to get this right. When a guy the size of Mason Cox gets his arms up – anybody watching pretty well knows he’s very hard to stop legally. Except the umpies it seems.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 2:30pm
                BigAl said | June 13th 2018 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

                No, I wasn’t joking, but you were waffling, and continue to do so here !

                What have “Equalization measures…”, “… greater free agency…” got to do with what I’m talking about here ? I just don’t see it. !

                I have NEVER said the bump has anything to with blowouts – two separate issues – I can walk and chew gum at the same time !

                I always find it amusing/frustrating when keyboard warriors carry on like “… why don’t the Umps just do this, or pay that, when that… !”
                Umpires practice hard and are at the coal face, yet can’t get it right when it’s so easy and obvious to the warriors ?
                Maybe the game moves too fast and is played at too fast a pace for these problem issues to be successfully adjudicated ???
                As in society, if a law/rule can’t be adhered to than it is a bad law…

                I know blowouts have always happened – just look at country leagues.
                My point is that at the end of the day what people really want is an exciting close contest – not just end to end “species”. In this day of competitive markets continual blowouts have really got to be worked on for the game to prosper.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 2:43pm
                BigAl said | June 13th 2018 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

                . . .furthermore, Equalisation measures…; freeagency… were never intended, and can’t address blowouts !
                What is required is just a bit of internal game restructure !!

                Have you ever asked yourself – how come a team like the Crows, not a bad side, were in last years GF, gave last years premiers a bit of a toweling this season, yet were absolutely THRASHED by a team like Melbourne (not a bad side, not a great side…)
                I know they have injury problems, but that is always going to happen.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 2:43pm
        Trevor said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

        To avoid blowouts, let’s make the points on the ladder worth 8 per game. 4 for the win and 1 for each quarter won. That way you can keep playing for a couple of bonus points even if the game is out of reach at half time.

        And we want more bumps, not less.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 2:54pm
        Peter said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

        What you describe is bordeline a different sport to aussie rules. And not for the better.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 9:18pm
        Michael Rogers said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

        A few facts:

        “BLOWOUTs being a problem”

        A few facts:
        5 seasons with the highest percentage of matches with margins of 40 points and over.
        1979: 44.20%
        1996: 43.78%
        1987: 43.13%
        2012: 43.00%
        2011: 42.86%
        (2018: 34.29% – ranks 43rd highest – between 1898 (34.30% and 1978 34.06%.)

        5 seasons with the highest percentage of matches with margins of 60 points and over.
        2012: 25.60%
        1990: 25.47%
        1994: 24.71%
        2016: 24.15%
        1985: 23.91%
        (2018: 14.29% – ranks 55th highest – between 1948 (14.30%) and 1906 (14.08%)

        5 seasons with the highest percentage of matches with margins of 80 points and over.
        2000: 12.43%
        1986: 12.32%
        1991: 12.21%
        2012: 12.08%
        1993: 11.46%
        (2018: 7.62% – ranks 28th highest – between 1949 (7.63%) and 1997 (7.57%)

        5 seasons with the highest percentage of matches with margins of 100 points and over.
        1991: 5.81%
        1983: 5.80%
        1985: 5.80%
        1944: 5.36%
        2011: 5.10%
        (2018: 1.90% – ranks 44th highest – between 2015 (1.94%) and 1988 (1.88%)

        • June 13th 2018 @ 7:30am
          truetigerfan said | June 13th 2018 @ 7:30am | ! Report

          Thanks for the clarity, Michael. People banging on about this issue are jumping at shadows. Or perhaps they are very young or newbies and don’t know any better. Basketball might just be a nicer experience for them.

          • June 14th 2018 @ 6:43am
            George Apps said | June 14th 2018 @ 6:43am | ! Report

            Or maybe it’s their team that’s having the blow-outs!

            • June 14th 2018 @ 9:19am
              BigAl said | June 14th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

              If you are referring to me, this, or anything truetigerfan chucks about apply !

        • June 13th 2018 @ 10:35am
          BigAl said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

          Talk about lies, damn lies and statistics !

          Blowouts have always been a problem with Aussie rules ! Get out and check a few country games and junior leagues.

          Two of the big Iconic games this year – BLOWOUTS !
          Sometimes a game can be all over halfway through the first quarter – both teams know it so noone really cares and the obvious loser kicks a few/buckets? of junk time goals ! – cast your mind back to . . . last round, Swans v Saints.

          How many close/great? GFs have there been ?

          What I want is Aussie rules/AFL to be exciting and relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
          I have always thought blowouts to be a problem with aussie rules, and now along with other issues it is coming to a head !

          • June 13th 2018 @ 1:44pm
            Perry Bridge said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

            St Kilda are rubbish and deserve to get thumped. Simples.

            Collingwood and North Melbourne have jumped well past the Sainters by being far better managed.

            Don’t forget – St Kilda stuffed up their salary cap and had to let guys like Goddard and Dal Santo go. They butchered it. Tough for their supporters.

            However – what I see as an issue is that too much of a senior AFL clubs list is ‘development’ players. Drafted in as 18 year olds.

            Think back – we used to have real clubs with at very least U19s, Ressies and Seniors. We had slightly better depth. Give the clubs a senior ‘supplementary list’ of players with adult bodies that can be brought in if need be to avoid over exposing 18/19 year olds who aren’t ready for it yet. In the old days – how many reserves matches did Tuck and Dipper play? Too many ‘gifted’ games these days.

            Perhaps this is an argument for a mid season draft. Allow a club with a horrible run of injuries to draft some guys straight in from WAFL or VFL or O&M.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 8:27am
      Steve009 said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      I do miss those one on one stand your ground marking contests we would see such as SOS v plugger or Fletcher v Kernahan. A lot more enjoyable than the whistle, free kick, umpire explanation we have to watch today

      • June 12th 2018 @ 4:11pm
        Perry Bridge said | June 12th 2018 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

        The problem with SOS and Fletcher is they were the worst examples of ‘scraggers’. Of defenders doing their utmost to entangle themselves with the full forward rather than displaying true defensive skills. That was the era where guys like Carey, Dunstall, Ablett and Lockett seemed to be ‘handicapped’ by the umpires who let some defenders get away with way too much.

        It was also an era where these great forwards were very much under valued (in the Brownlow) by the umpires.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 5:07pm
          Steve009 said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

          They were the defensive skills of the day and they produced greater backman forward one on one battles than we see today.
          And I’m not to sure how handicapped that list of some the greatest forwards were, they seemed to do alright.
          Certainly not the handicap modern forwards face from modern coaches.

        • Roar Guru

          June 13th 2018 @ 2:31pm
          JamesH said | June 13th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

          WTF? SOS and Fletcher were brilliant, skilled defenders. Fletcher’s ability to effect a spoil with his long arms was amazing. Lockett and Ablett got away with stuff no forward would get away with now.

          Lockett won a Brownlow too, while Carey and Dunstall had multiple top 3 finishes in the count. Forwards are far less likely to win a Brownlow in the modern era.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 8:36am
      IAP said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      Good article Cameron, but there’s a couple of things I’d do differently:
      – keep the hands in the back rule. It’s rarely paid anyway, and it’s an unfair contest if they’re allowed to push in the back.
      – Loosen up on the holding in a marking contest; too many soft free kicks here
      – Get rid of the “chopping of the arms”; that was a defenders best weapon for 150 year; it makes the forwards earn their kicks.
      – GET RID OF THE RUCK NOMINATION. This is the worst rule ever, and it slows the game down as the players wait around whilst the umpire administers the rule. It’s not hard to count to two. Actually, let a third man go up again.
      – Start paying free kicks for holding the man; players get taken out all the time and nothing is done about it.

      The big one that will fix the game is to limit the rotations. Let the players get tired, and they won’t have the energy to maintain the zone.

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2018 @ 2:53pm
        Peppsy said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

        We’re in the black hole of rotations right now. Players have enough energy to maintain the zone and flood, but are too tired to have the skills to break the oppositions zone.

        • June 13th 2018 @ 7:17am
          IAP said | June 13th 2018 @ 7:17am | ! Report

          Yep. It’s such a simple fix; I don’t know why they haven’t done it already. And go back to 3 on the bench; that would help too.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 9:23am
      Mokicat said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

      And if we can eliminate ‘less’ when we mean ‘fewer’ the greater will be the punditry!

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2018 @ 2:23pm
        XI said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report