man on the mark brought back to the top of the goal square;
no runners during live play;
unnecessary umpire contact;
the opposition player cannot interrupt the recipient of a 50-metre penalty;
kicking a snap after the siren, however still remains on the line;
no more ‘hands in the back’ rule; and
rucks can elect to grab the ball from ball-up and throw in.
AFL journalist Nick Bowen has pinpointed the reasons why they were implemented – to “produce more free-flowing, instinctive football and more one-on-one contests”. I can understand these new rules and adjusted interpretations; however, are fans frustrated? Should some other rules be prioritised over others? Are there just too many new rules?
Connor Rozee of the Power (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
There are definitely some grey areas the AFL need to recognise. First and foremost, the new competition committee needs to revise the controversial ‘contact below the knees’ rule. After a series of broken legs, the rule was fittingly introduced. However, players take advantage of the rule far too often and as a result get a free kick because apparently it is deemed dangerous to put your head over the ball.
The ball-winner in this situation is never rewarded and could subsequently change the manner in which a bullish midfielder attacks a ground ball. An outspoken Patrick Dangerfield on Twitter labelled the rule as an “absolute disgrace”. The Cats superstar and AFLPA president may need to sit down with fellow committee colleague Steve Hocking to address the issue and later fine-tune it at season’s end.
Moreover, the new runner rule, whereby a runner can enter the field of play only after a goal, is debatable. Was it Chad Cornes’s tactical antics as a Port Adelaide runner or Alex Woodward’s interference of play in last year’s grand final that spurred the committee to determine this outcome? If so, this is not conclusive enough to make it a rule change.
Runners are prized assets within footy clubs who deliver constructive feedback to players during games. The deteriorating absence of runners may place inexperienced teams at a disadvantage, especially Carlton, who are in dire need of help, having won three games in a season and a half. The new interchange boards have been a debacle and an ineffective system of communication, leaving players, coaches and administration staff confused.
As it is only Round 5, and time will tell whether these implemented rule changes are mandatory within the game or not. While progress has been made early in the season, the competition committee still has a lot to answer for.
This is Part 3 in a five-part series that looks at graphical representation and assessment of AFL club list age profiles and features a novel graph coined an ‘Earlgram’ explained in Part 1. Part 1 introduced AGP-Earlgrams, which are AFL club 2020 list age histograms with a colour superposition based on percentage of 2019 AFL […]