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Opinion

Three changes to better the game from 2022

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Roar Guru
4th October, 2021
28

The AFL season realistically never ends.

The week after the grand final is spent analysing the game that was, before the silly season of trades begin, then the draft and before you know it, teams are back at pre season training.

While 2021 was a terrific season and the blowout margin didn’t reflect the final match of the year, the competition can always improve – for players, umpires and supporters.

Here are three rule changes for season 2022 that would improve an already spectacular product.

Kick backwards = play on
This one for supporters who love the thrill of close game.

Imagine sitting in the stands or on the couch at home and a team is trying to protect a lead in the dying stages of the game with possession, but they can’t kick the ball backwards without the umpire screaming ‘PLAY ON!” and the trailing team honing in.

A tough one for the umpires to adjudicate and will introduce further umpire backlash in the aftermath of a close game, but it will certainly raise the heart rate of the supporters and players while making the dying minutes all the more intense.

23rd man
Scrap the sub, bring in 23rd man.

There wasn’t a footy fan out there that didn’t feel for James Jordan when he didn’t get to grace the turf on grand final night.

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The medical sub isn’t used in the pathway tiers of the AFL, but the 23rd man is.

The role of the 23rd man is to play 50per cent game time, and in the VFL competition, they can’t be the 23rd man for more than four weeks of the season.

This allows the 23rd best player to play and also gives the players another rotation without the then inability to come back on.

Insufficient intent/deliberate out of bounds
There were a few questionable ones called in the finals series, and who can blame the umpires, the rule is as hard to judge as any in the competition.

The last disposal without being touched is clear, it is precise and from what is seen in the SANFL competition, it encourages players to use the corridor when moving the ball, therefore resulting some more exciting football.

It doesn’t eliminate the boundary umpire as there is still throw ins, but it does minimise stoppages which will result in more open play.

With three minor changes to the rules, the game will become more exciting for the supporters, more inclusive for the players and a little clearer for everyone when the ball trickles out of bounds.

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