The AFL seem to be infatuated with changing the rules every year, and 2018 is no exception. The AFL have introduced a number of rule and ground changes with the intention of creating a freer flowing, and more attractive game optically. Those changes are as follows:
- The goal square extended from five metres to ten metres. This means a strong, penetrating kick from the point kick-in can transfer the ball into the centre square and intends to open up the game from the point stoppage.
- The defender can play on immediately from the goal square after a point (they do not need to kick it to themselves). Means defenders can bring the ball into play quicker, perhaps by half a second or two.
- Hand in the back to be repealed. Previously hands placed in the back would draw a free against the defender, now a push is required to award a kick to the forward.
- Removal of prior opportunity for ruckman taking the ball from the ruck. This gives ruckman more incentive to grab the ball out of the throw in or ball up and move the ball quickly. Hopefully it doesn’t deter the ruckmen’s tap work.
- Zoning at centre bounces, 6-6-6. At every centre bounce teams must be split with one player in each of the goal squares, another five in each fifty (six in total inside the fifty metre arc), two on the wings and four in the centre square. Should clear out space.
- Marks within 9 m of the goal line will be moved to the top of the goal square. Will give the marking place more space to move on and clear congestion deep inside the fifty.
- Runners and water carriers can only enter the field after a goal is kicked. Was always going to happen this year after a number of incidents between team personnel and players.
- Players are no longer allowed to set up behind umpires at centre bounces. There has been concerns that players being tagged are using the umpire backing out of the centre contest as a block.
- Players receiving a 50 metre penalty can play on, kick or handpass immediately. Previously the player would have to wait until the mark was set.
- Post-siren players can snap or check-side for goal. Players will stand the existing five metres from the marking line.
What does this mean for Esperance? Meetings between coaches and league officials will take place to decide which rules will be applied and enforced to each league (rule changes are not compulsory)
Sean spoke about the rules and his reactions to the changes on the Breaky Show. Feel free to message in with your thoughts at the Triple M Esperance page!