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AFL introduces Laws of the Game changes for '09 season

General NewsThe AFL has announced Laws of the Game changes for season 2009. While the rules will immediately affect the AFL season (and NAB Cup competition), it is as always up to bodies around the world on whether they implement these changes or ignore them.

AFL Football Operations Manager Adrian Anderson, Chairman of the Laws of the Game Committee, said the Commission had approved the following at its monthly meeting in Melbourne today:

1) Four minor rule changes for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season;

2) Two new interpretations for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season;

3) One change to the AFL regulations for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season;

4) Introduction of three 2009 NAB Cup / NAB Challenge rules that may be introduced for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season;

5) A revision of the rules used in the 2008 NAB Cup, which has seen some rules retained and others discarded to bring the NAB Cup more in line with the Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Mr Anderson said the quality of football that had been played over the 2007 and 2008 seasons had been outstanding, assisted by changes made in recent seasons to make the game more continuous and free flowing.

The details on each of the changes are as follows:

1. Minor rule changes for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season

Mr Anderson said the minor rule changes that would automatically come into effect for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season included:

a) Recall badly offline bounces: An umpire will recall a field or centre bounce when the bounce does not allow for the ball to be contested by both teams.

b) Free kick for misconduct: A free kick can now be paid for incidents of misconduct such as interfering with an injured player. Previously misconduct was the only offence which was reportable but for which a free kick could not be paid.

c) Restart of play following a stretcher: If one team has possession when play is stopped for a stretcher, that same team will retain possession when play is re-started.

d) 50m penalty awarded after all clear is given but before play has re-started: A free kick to the defending team during this time will be taken where infringement occurred or 50m from the kick-off line. This change makes the rules consistent with those already in place for when a free kick is given away after a mark or free kick has been awarded.

2. New interpretations for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season

The two new interpretations that will automatically come into effect for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season are as follows:

- Scoring line to be drawn so the back of the line is equal with the back of the padding rather than being through the centre of the posts (to ensure goal umpires are using a consistent frame of reference regardless of their line of sight);

- If the field umpire impedes a player when in the act of setting the mark for a shot on goal, the field umpire will stop play and reset the mark so no player is disadvantaged in this situation.

3. Change to AFL Regulations for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season

The penalty for a breach of the interchange regulations has been modified to be simpler and more proportionate. The penalty for an interchange breach will now be a free kick plus 50 metre penalty from wherever play is stopped. Previously the ball was taken to the centre of the ground and then a 50 metre penalty was awarded.

In addition to these changes, four boundary umpires will now be used on a permanent basis from the 2009 NAB Cup onwards following a successful trial from Round 21 through to the Grand Final in the 2008 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

4. NAB Cup / NAB Challenge rules for potential introduction in 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season

a) A free kick will now be awarded for any deliberate rushed behind

Mr Anderson explained that clubs had raised the issue of deliberate rushed behinds as part of the consultation process and a number of options had been discussed.

“The clear majority of clubs and coaches thought that deliberate rushed behinds are having a negative impact on the game and support the trial of a rule to discourage the tactic.

“The strong feedback the AFL received after the Grand Final was that clubs and coaches would deliberately rush more and more behinds if the rule was not changed.

He said two key statistics helped explain why the AFL did not select the option of disallowing the player who rushes the ball from kicking it in, or disallowing the kick in until the flags were waved. These two statistics are:

1) less than a quarter of kick-ins following a deliberate rushed behind are taken before the flags are waved; and

2) only 45 per cent of deliberately rushed behinds are kicked in by the player who rushes the behind.

“The options of a bounce 25m out from goal or a boundary throw-in from the behind post were carefully considered, but not selected because they create extra stoppages and time delays which increase the opportunity for teams to flood.

The option of a free kick for a deliberate rushed behind was adopted because it is the simplest option, the greatest deterrent, and is most consistent with the current Laws of the Game.

“A free kick is already paid for deliberately putting the ball out of play in all other areas around the ground and this option allows for similar criteria to be used in the case of deliberate rushed behinds.”

The benefit of the doubt will be given to a defender who is under direct pressure in a contest, or whose primary goal is to spoil or touch the ball before it goes through for a goal. Examples of what constitutes a deliberate rushed behind will be included on the Laws of the Game DVD to be released by the AFL umpiring department early in 2009.

b) Umpires to award a 50 metre penalty in addition to a free kick for players who tackle or hold an opponent after the opponent has disposed of the football, for the purpose of preventing them from taking part in the next act of play or being able to run on to the next contest

Mr Anderson said the free after disposal trial was in response to an emerging trend where players were being unfairly hindered after being involved in an act of play.

“We have seen that players are prepared to give away a free kick by putting an opposition player down after disposing of the ball to prevent them from running onto the next contest. Currently only a free kick is awarded and this can be an insufficient deterrent,” he said.

c) Continue the trial of the no-go zone behind umpires at centre bounces

The Centre bounce no-go zone resulted in a decrease in player-umpire contact when used in the 2008 NAB Cup and so the no-go zone will be trialled again to monitor its impact on the incidence of contact with umpires at centre bounces.

“Each of these three trial rules will be evaluated following the NAB Cup and NAB Challenge to determine whether it is appropriate for them to be introduced for the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season,” Mr Anderson said.

5. Other NAB Cup rules

Feedback from the clubs and coaches indicated they would like to see the rules of the NAB Cup brought more in line with the rules of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season to assist with player preparation.

In light of this feedback, Mr Anderson said the following alterations had been made to the rules that were part of the 2008 NAB Cup:

a) Interchange system - remove the restriction on the number of interchanges permitted that was used in the 2008 NAB Cup and introduce a system of two substitute players in addition to six standard interchange players;

b) Remove the rule allowing play on when ball hits goal or behind post; and

c) Remove the ball being thrown back into play 10m in from boundary line.

The rules used in the 2008 NAB Cup to be retained for the 2009 NAB Cup are;

a) No marks for backward kicks in the defensive half of the ground;

b) Nine points for a goal from outside 50m;

c) Ball to be thrown up around the ground; and

d) Distance for a kick to be awarded a mark retained at 20m.

The above rules will also be used in 2009 NAB Challenge matches except for (b), nine points for a goal from outside 50m.

Mr Anderson said he wished to thank the clubs, coaches, players, states and fans for their input into the 2008 process along with all members of the Laws Committee for their work over the course of the year. He also commended the work of former Carlton champion Andrew McKay, who was appointed to the new role of Game Analysis Manager in 2008. McKay serves as an internal resource to monitor and analyse trends in the game, make recommendations for research and drive the consultation process with the clubs on Laws-related matters.

The Laws Committee consists of Adrian Anderson (Chairman), Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Brendon Gale, Andrew McKay, Matthew Pavlich, Rowan Sawers, Michael Sexton and Andrew McKay.

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AFL introduces Laws of the Game changes for '09 season | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
AFL introduces Laws of the Game changes for '09 season
Authored by: Niels Schønnemann on Tuesday, December 16 2008 @ 11:56 pm ACDT

Can someone explain this rule:

d) 50m penalty awarded after all clear is given but before play has re-started: A free kick to the defending team during this time will be taken where infringement occurred or 50m from the kick-off line. This change makes the rules consistent with those already in place for when a free kick is given away after a mark or free kick has been awarded.

AFL introduces Laws of the Game changes for '09 season
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, December 17 2008 @ 01:24 am ACDT

I'm not sure if I understand it either, but I'll try.

I'm guessing it's talking about a free to the defending side that is awarded after the attacking side has kicked a behind and after the all-clear has been given, so the point stays, but the free is before play re-starts.

So effectively the defending side was going to get a kick-out from the top of the goalsquare, but because of the free they get an extra 50m from there or they take it from where the infringement occurred, whichever is closer to their own goal. Not sure what the rule was previously - maybe 50m from the goalsquare but didn't include the part about where the infringement occurred? Just a guess.

So if in the centre a free is given, rather than the kickout be made from the goalsquare or goalsquare + 50m, instead it comes up to the centre. Hence making it in-line with other frees around the ground to players that didn't have the ball - if your team had the ball (a free or mark already) they get 50m extra, unless the free occurred closer to goal than the ball, then free moves up to where it occurred.

Sound right?

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

AFL introduces Laws of the Game changes for '09 season
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Thursday, December 18 2008 @ 08:59 am ACDT

I read it as Brett does.

btw - the free kick from the deliberate rushed behind in the NAB cup. I'm not too sure on this. More because the around the ground interpretation of deliberate out of bounds has generally provided stuff all benefit of the doubt (an area our game is often lacking in the understanding of with whom it should sit).

The AFL though continues their hate campaign with stoppages- - -however, without stoppages it reduces the need for the great variety of body types - - - we already have a pseudo last team touches out of bounds concedes a free rule interpretation. If we remove boundary throw ins - - the need for 'pure ruckmen' and the capacity for traditional 'crumbers' reduces.

The AFL has to be careful about not turning the game into just glorified circle work.

AFL introduces Laws of the Game changes for '09 season
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, December 18 2008 @ 11:08 am ACDT

Yeah not a fan of the free kick for a deliberate rushed behind. You'll now see forwards not going for the ball, just trying to corral the defender into conceding a behind and thus a free kick. I much prefer a bounce down say 20 metres out.

We like to think that Australian football represents the spirit of Australia, the sense of a fair go. Several aspects of the game that are key to that have slowly been eroded and I think this is another case. If a free is paid it's very much sudden death and all comes down to a subjective opinion of an umpire as to whether the player meant to concede the point. Whereas a ball up 20 metres out gives the defending team a chance to redeem themselves, a chance to overcome what may have been a bad decision. The penalty is not as severe as a free kick and probable goal, but it would still be a strong deterent against most rushed behinds - you lose possession in your defensive end. You've conceded the point and are only 50-50 to get possession.

I believe the general public would be much more supportive of a ball up than a free, so yeah, perhaps it is just the obsession of getting rid of stoppages. Yet surely it would only mean up to 3 or 4 more per game.

And I agree there is a risk of the AFL becoming more like circle work. Some games are moreso than others, and they can be very boring to watch. We do still want contests. And speaking as someone of short stature, I totally agree that smaller body types are no longer favoured in the game. The claim that Australian football is a game for all shapes and sizes is no longer true at the elite level.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

AFL introduces Laws of the Game changes for '09 season
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Friday, December 19 2008 @ 08:32 am ACDT

although, I recently compared my North Melb vs the Brisbane Broncos. The Roos had a height range of about 30cms, 173cm to 203cm. The Broncos only went up to about 192cm, with a range of about 20cms.
Maybe the days of a Paul Callery are numbered. Maybe kids are on average taller than before.

The AFL still CAN allow a reasonable height range, but, needs to ensure the importance of the height range 'extremes'.
Part of that is positional style play. Thankfully, we still have the 'small forward' as a key role (if no longer always a resting rover).
I would like to see a requirement of no 3rd man up in boundary throw ins - - allow the art of 'ruckwork' to survive around the ground.
I would like to see the IC bench restricted to perhaps 2 or 3 'free' IC players plus 1 or 2 subs. And force more on ground rotations - - that after all is footy as most of us know it (although, granted, those who grew up in the old 19th man era........it was even more extreme).