Today the AFL released all of its official rule changes for 2019. The 19m goal square didn’t make the cut but huge, historical changes have been made to the kick-in rules. The hands in the back rule has been scrapped as the AFL tries to create a more attacking game with better one-on-one contests. See all of the new rules below.

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.


  • For Kick-Ins from a Behind, a Player will no longer need to kick to himself to Play On out of the Goal Square.
  • Following a Behind, the man on The Mark will be positioned 10 metres from the top of the Goal Square (currently 5 metres).

Marks / Free Kicks:

  • For all Defenders who take a Mark or gain a Free Kick within 9 metres of their own Goal, the man on The Mark for the attacking team will be brought in line with the top of the Goal Square.

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.

Umpire Contact

  • Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the Umpire at each Centre Bounce.

50-Metre Penalty

  • 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 during the advancement of the 50-Metre Penalty.

Kicking for Goal post-siren – Centre of Goal Line

  • 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 man on The Mark and the Goal.

Marking Contest

  • ‘Hands in the Back’ rule interpretation to be repealed, allowing a Player to place his hands on the back of his opponent to protect his position in a Marking contest but not to push the Player in the back.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.

Discuss the new rule changes on Australia’s biggest footy forum, Big Footy