2019 saw the AFL introduce some new rules, which were launched in October of 2018. These new rules were the result of in-depth consultation by the League’s analysis team, and the Competition Committee. While most of these rules are designed to better the game, some people remain skeptical about their contribution. Here are some of the new rules and their influence on the overall spectacle.
Something about making rules has changed. The common interpretation for “hands in the back” rule has since changed. This means that players are allowed to have their hands on the back of an opponent during marking contests. However, they also should not push the player from behind. This means that the forwards stand to gain some advantages, while defenders will certainly need some backing while reaching out to the ball. Overall, this rule might inject some attacking flair to the game.
Two main changes are directed towards ruck contests. First, the ruckman who wins possession from a throw-up, bounce, and throw in will not be considered to have a prior opportunity to dispose of the ball. Secondly, when there are doubts about the designated ruckman, each time is expected to nominate one to the field umpire. As a result, ruckmen are expected to have more control of the game. To cater to the dynamics involved in ruck contests, you might be surprised to start seeing coaches fielding two ruckmen. Moreover, you should also expect to have ruckmen hitting their targets more often.
Free Kicks and Marks in Defence
New rules have also changed the way defenders mark or receive a free-kick. These new changes stipulated that the man on the mark should move to be in line with the top of the goalsquare. As a result, extra space defenders will have an easier time taking their kicks or clearing the ball than before.