Ovens and Murray, Tallangatta, Upper Murray and Hume leagues will adopt seven of the AFL’s new rules for the 2019 season.
Last year, the AFL undertook a review of its rules and interpretations which resulted in nine changes.
Adaptions to be brought in for the region’s competitions are around kick-ins, marks and free kicks in defensive 50, hands in the back in marking contests, kicking for goal after the siren, 50-metre penalties, prior opportunity in the ruck and umpire contact at centre bounces.
A player will no longer need to kick to themselves to play on out of the goal square, a ruckman taking the ball out of the ruck won’t be regarded as having prior opportunity, while a player can place their hands on the back of their opponent to protect position in a marking contest.
Players can play on whilst being advanced by the umpire for a 50m penalty, while a check-side or snap kick can be taken after the siren given the player takes the kick directly in line with the man on the mark and the goal.
However, exemptions were put in for the proposed traditional centre bounce set up where teams must have six players inside both 50-metre arcs, with one required in the goal square, as well as four midfield players positioned inside the centre square, with wingmen placed along the wing.
The other rule not to be adopted is the restrictions on runners and water carriers.
In the AFL, runners may only enter the playing surface once a goal has been kicked and must exit before play recommences, while water carriers can’t be on the field during live play.
Changes will apply to all grades of competition.
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Tallangatta and Upper Murray league operations manager Gavin Rendell believes most of the adjustments are straightforward and are good rule changes.
“The kick-in one will be interesting because it’s such a traditional rule having the player kick to themselves and then play on,” Rendell said.
“Free kicks inside defensive 50 is probably a good one too because defenders aren’t pegged up against the fence and will have some space to take the kick.
“It’s designed to speed it up and open it up.”
Rendell said the change of rules was a statewide decision.
”When they first came out with the rules, the clubs had the opportunity to go back to AFL Victoria with what they wanted exemptions for or didn’t want to have,” Rendell said.
“It’s nothing to do with local leagues, it’s adapted right across the state.
“If leagues want to adopt a change to the rules on runners and water carriers, they’d have to do a by-law change.”
The Hume league will look to follow suit.
“We’re applying for the same changes as AFL NEB because their umpires are umpiring our games,” Hume league general manager Dalton Wegener said.
“We’ve applied to AFL NSW to have those same changes to keep it simple.”
2019 rule changes
For kick-ins from a behind, a player will no longer need to kick to themselves to play on out of the goal square. Following a behind, the person on the mark will be positioned 10 metres from the top of the goal square as opposed to the previous ruling of five metres.
Marks/ free kicks
For all defenders who take a mark or gain a free kick within nine metres of their own goal, the player on the mark for the attacking team will be brought in line with the top of the goal square - allowing the defender more space to clear the ball.
Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the umpire at each centre bounce. Free kicks will be paid against infringing players.
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 at any time during the advancement of the 50-metre penalty. No player can man the mark if they are behind the player with the ball and all opposition players must stay out of the moving protected area (10 metres).
Kicking for goal post-siren
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 person on the mark and the goal.
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. The current holding the ball rule will apply.
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.
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.
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