NAB Cup 2011 new rule trials
Wednesday, December 15 2010 @ 01:10 PM CST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
AFL General Manager Football Operations Adrian Anderson said the AFL would continue to use the NAB Cup as an opportunity for the AFL to examine potential rule options, after a number of recent successful trials including the revised ruck rule at centre bounces, the altered advantage rule and the player substitute rule and the rushed behind rule – all of which have since become part of the premiership season and the Laws of the Game.
Mr Anderson said the AFL would trial four rule options across the month-long pre-season competition, along with one option that would be used in round one of matches only. Each rule to be trialled is as follows:
1. A player awarded a 50m penalty which takes them inside the 50m area can elect either to kick from outside 50 for nine points, or kick from inside 50 for six points
It was felt that a player who is awarded a 50-metre penalty which would advance him inside 50-metres, should be given the opportunity to decide whether he kicks from outside 50-metres for nine points, or take the full 50-metre penalty to kick from inside 50-metres for six points.
2. Official scorer can assist with scoring decisions by reference to technology
If a video replay is immediately available, the goal umpire can consult with the official scorer to determine the correct decision. To be implemented such that the effect on the flow of the game will be minimal and there is no avenue for players to refer decisions.
3. Boundary umpires pay free kicks for holding & high contact at stoppages
As an extension to the 2010 NAB Cup Trial, boundary umpires may pay free kicks for obvious holding or high contact infringements. They will not pay any other form of free kick.
4. Free kick against player who drags or holds ball under opponent
As an extension of the rule trialled in the 2010 NAB Cup trial, the umpire may pay a free kick against a player who drags the ball under his opponent, and may also pay a free kick against a player who holds a ball under his opponent, when he is trying to knock it out.
5. Last touch out of bounds
To be trialled in the first round of matches only, when each of the 18 clubs will be broken up into six groups of three clubs to play two shortened matches each on the one day at the one venue, a free kick will be paid against the last player to touch the ball before it went out of bounds. A free won’t be paid if the umpire is unable to determine who touched the ball last, if the ball goes out of bounds from a spoil after a marking contest or if the ball goes out of bounds as a result of a defensive smother to a kick or a handball.
The rationale for trialling the last touch rule emerged in the consultation process as a way of creating a point of difference for the competition in round one only.
He said the AFL had elected to further trial the use of technology to assist in scoring decisions while it was again looking at the use of boundary umpires to ensure ball players were protected.
“Boundary umpires can be in a good position for viewing these situations and this trial, which was first used last year, allows them to award free kicks when holding or high contact infringements are detected. Boundary umpires will again be trained up on this skill over the pre-season,” Mr Anderson said.
“In 2011, the AFL will again will again trial an extension of the holding the ball rule as an attempt to reduce the prevalence of players dragging or holding the ball underneath their opponent in an attempt to gain a free kick. This tactic is against the spirit and intent of the holding the ball rule,” Mr Anderson said.
The NAB Cup fixture for 2011 was released in October, after the AFL announced in May this year the revised format for round one under the new 18-team competition that will include both the Gold Coast Suns and the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
The introduction of the Gold Coast Football Club, as the competition’s 17th side from 2011 onwards, meant the AFL would not be able to continue with a traditional four-week straight knockout competition for the NAB Cup, with each eliminated team to then play in the NAB Challenge.
In 2011, the AFL will divide the 18 teams into six divisions of three clubs each, with each club to play two matches in their pool against the other two sides they are matched with. These matches in the first week will be shortened games, comprising two 20-minute halves and would allow for three games to be played in a three-hour block.
The Sydney Swans, the Suns and the Giants will be grouped together at Blacktown Olympic Park, the future home of GWS, on Saturday night February 19. Kevin Sheedy, the third-longest serving coach in VFL / AFL history, will make his return to the top level at the helm of Team GWS and fans will likely see cross-code recruits Karmichael Hunt (Gold Coast) and Israel Folau (GWS) pitted against each other and against top-level AFL opposition for the first time.
The other round one pools, and their locations, are:
· Adelaide, Port Adelaide and Melbourne at AAMI Stadium, Friday night February 11.
· Collingwood, Carlton and Richmond at Etihad Stadium, Saturday night February 12.
· West Coast, Fremantle and Hawthorn at Patersons Stadium, Sunday afternoon February 13.
· Essendon, the Brisbane Lions and St Kilda at Etihad Stadium, Friday night February 18.
· Geelong Cats, North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs at Skilled Stadium, Sunday afternoon February 20.
The six winners of each division will then qualify for the next round of matches, along with two other sides that have the best records among the other teams, to allow for a traditional quarter-final set up of eight teams, before moving into semi finals and a grand final over a three-week period.