The Roar
The Roar


Have the AFL's new rules actually changed anything?

The AFL has the chance to make a statement in the wake of an ugly incident at the MCG. (AAP Image/James Ross)
16th April, 2019

After four rounds and 36 games of 2019 AFL season, we are finally getting a feel for the impact of the competition’s raft of new rules and interpretations.

The question is, has there been any impact at all?

Roar AFL Expert Marnie Cohen joined Editor Daniel Jeffrey and host Matt Petherick on the Game of Codes podcast to reflect on the best, the worst and the most inconsequential rules to be introduced to the competition this year, and it wasn’t long before the discussion turned to what has been one of the most controversial changes of 2019.

Listen to the debate

The AFL introduced a total of nine new rules and interpretation changes for the 2019 season:

Traditional Playing Positions at Centre Bounce:

  • Implementation of a traditional set up at centre bounces – Clubs must have six Players inside both 50-Metre arcs, with one Player required to be inside the Goal Square. Four Midfield Players are positioned inside the Centre Square with the Wingmen required to be placed somewhere along the Wing.
  • Kick-Ins:

  • For Kick-Ins from a Behind, a Player will no longer need to kick to himself to Play On out of the Goal Square.
  • Following a Behind, the man on The Mark will be positioned 10 metres from the top of the Goal Square (currently 5 metres).

  • Marks / Free Kicks:

  • For all Defenders who take a Mark or gain a Free Kick within 9 metres of their own Goal, the man on The Mark for the attacking team will be brought in line with the top of the Goal Square.

  • Runners and Water Carriers:

  • Team Runners may only enter the Playing Surface once a goal has been kicked and must exit the Playing Surface before play Recommences.
  • Water Carriers are not permitted to enter the Playing Surface during live play.

  • Umpire Contact:

  • Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the Umpire at each Centre Bounce.

  • 50-Metre Penalty:

  • Stricter on the infringing player, allowing the Player with the ball to advance The Mark by 50 metres without the infringing player delaying the game.
  • In addition, the Player with the Football will be able to play on during the advancement of the 50-Metre Penalty.

  • Kicking for Goal post-siren – Centre of Goal Line:

  • A Player who has been awarded a Mark or Free Kick once play has ended will now be able to Kick across their body using a Snap or Check-side Kick. The Player shall dispose of the Football directly in line with the man on The Mark and the Goal.

  • Marking Contest

  • ‘Hands in the Back’ rule interpretation to be repealed, allowing a Player to place his hands on the back of his opponent to protect his position in a Marking contest but not to push the Player in the back.

  • Ruck Contests – Prior Opportunity:

  • A Ruck Player who takes possession of the Football while contesting a bounce or throw up by a field Umpire or a boundary throw in by a boundary Umpire, will not be regarded as having had Prior Opportunity. Where there is uncertainty over who is the designated Ruck, the Ruck for each Team will continue to nominate to the field Umpire.
  • Catch the full episode below or subscribe to Game of Codes on Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio or wherever else you get your podcasts.