50m Penalties - Why

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PhatBoy

Brownlow Medallist
May 5, 2016
28,891
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Geelong
Can someone who has a bit more of an affinity for the history of various rules etc explain this to me.

Why the hell can you:
- sling someone head first into the ground
- tackle them high
- lead with your knees or hip and make contact with an opponent’s head
- punch them in a contest
- dive at their legs

and at the time the biggest penalty you face is a free kick

If you
- don’t quite throw a ball to an opponent on the full
- happen to get too close to someone taking a set kick (even though their teammates can run wherever they want)

you give away a third of the length of the field AND a free kick

it is the most ridiculous method of officiating I’ve seen in any sport
 

conrad_437

Club Legend
Jun 26, 2016
2,279
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Melbourne
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
If you
- don’t quite throw a ball to an opponent on the full
- happen to get too close to someone taking a set kick (even though their teammates can run wherever they want)

you give away a third of the length of the field AND a free kick

it is the most ridiculous method of officiating I’ve seen in any sport
I think the rule in principle is largely in placed to establish a binary decision-making process, that is to remove a grey area. In practise it isn't quite as clear cut (especially with the second one you mentioned).

The first rule is clearly in place to prevent time-wasting. Obviously, there are levels to the degree of which this can occur, but the rule is clear to the players - get the ball back to the player on the full.
 

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GastevsBeard

All Australian
Aug 18, 2009
874
2,654
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Can someone who has a bit more of an affinity for the history of various rules etc explain this to me.

Why the hell can you:
- sling someone head first into the ground
- tackle them high
- lead with your knees or hip and make contact with an opponent’s head
- punch them in a contest
- dive at their legs

and at the time the biggest penalty you face is a free kick

If you
- don’t quite throw a ball to an opponent on the full
- happen to get too close to someone taking a set kick (even though their teammates can run wherever they want)

you give away a third of the length of the field AND a free kick

it is the most ridiculous method of officiating I’ve seen in any sport
feels like it is punctuated further when scoring is low

teams can be in a deadlock unable to score. nekminit some frivolous, BS, ticky-touch wood 50m gives someone a shot from the top of the goal square
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
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They really need a 15m or 25m alternative, 50m is just too big a punishment in most cases.
It was 15m. Then a certain 4-time premiership coach worked out that it was worth giving up 15m to get numbers back to defend.

(And if you’re gonna give one away, put em on the ground and dig your knee into their thigh so they all have corkies by the last quarter).

Worked a treat too. It’d be the same these days.
 

Phone

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 7, 2010
27,708
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La Capanna Restaurant.
AFL Club
Essendon
Can someone who has a bit more of an affinity for the history of various rules etc explain this to me.

Why the hell can you:
- sling someone head first into the ground
- tackle them high
- lead with your knees or hip and make contact with an opponent’s head
- punch them in a contest
- dive at their legs

and at the time the biggest penalty you face is a free kick

If you
- don’t quite throw a ball to an opponent on the full
- happen to get too close to someone taking a set kick (even though their teammates can run wherever they want)

you give away a third of the length of the field AND a free kick

it is the most ridiculous method of officiating I’ve seen in any sport
The simple way I've always thought about it is that there's not really any infringement that is actually written as a 50m penalty. However, if you commit a free-kick offence when play is already stopped for a mark or free-kick, it is escalated to a 50 meter penalty. So you can see how throwing the ball incorrectly to the person on the mark is escalated to 50 while a high tackle in live play isn't. Some things alternate between free and 50, most notably umpire abuse, which if it happens in live play is a free-kick, but if the man on the mark starts unloading, becomes a 50 meter. Does this make sense? No not really!

Unfortunately I can't find a clear writing of that, so take me with a grain of salt.
 

Underarm

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 13, 2011
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Its a punishment for a 2nd offence, no matter what that offence is. And as Bunk Moreland says if it was a smaller punishment Coaches would abuse it.
 

estibador

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Mar 2, 2007
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The simple way I've always thought about it is that there's not really any infringement that is actually written as a 50m penalty. However, if you commit a free-kick offence when play is already stopped for a mark or free-kick, it is escalated to a 50 meter penalty. So you can see how throwing the ball incorrectly to the person on the mark is escalated to 50 while a high tackle in live play isn't. Some things alternate between free and 50, most notably umpire abuse, which if it happens in live play is a free-kick, but if the man on the mark starts unloading, becomes a 50 meter. Does this make sense? No not really!

Unfortunately I can't find a clear writing of that, so take me with a grain of salt.
There is one I believe, and we saw it tonight even though it probably hasn't been paid since the first year it was brought in - when you take out a player after they handball so they can't keep running through for the handball receive.
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
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Just another inconsistent AFL rule.

In the last 5-10 minutes tonight Petracca ran within 2m of Allen 55m out from goal, no 'protected area' 50. In the last minute Petty held up play, no 50.

You can call it salty that 3 50s were paid for the night and none went our way, but I believe those would've been paid under different circumstances. I.e. earlier in the game or in Allen's case if he was at half back or something rather than guaranteed a goal.

Frustrates the sh*t out of fans when a technical 50 you see once a year if that is paid then a textbook example of something they pay multiple times a game is let go late in the game. Jim Stynes walking through the mark in the 1987 prelim is an iconic but infamous moment. I have no idea how many other 15m penalties were paid in that game but the decision was right. He did it, it was paid, Buckenara kicked the goal.
 

Phone

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 7, 2010
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There is one I believe, and we saw it tonight even though it probably hasn't been paid since the first year it was brought in - when you take out a player after they handball so they can't keep running through for the handball receive.
I noticed this! It was very interesting. But I wasn't sure if it was correct, so that's why I didn't mention it. I've seen 50 meters paid for holds that happen to a player running pass but still only when it's free-kick/mark situation. Going through the rules, it's indeed there.

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Interceptor

All Australian
Aug 20, 2009
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50 m penalty was brought in to replace the 15 m penalty because teams were deliberately conceding them or smashing players and all they lost was 15 m.
The key word there was 'replace', all of a sudden the rules commitee and umpiring fraternity decided that ANY infringement on the mark was worth this new penalty.

Hence the utter bullshit we have now where players having no impact whatsoever ("infringing") on the protected zone are penalised.
Plus plenty of other really soft 50s paid that never would have been 15s previously.
Having a 25 m penalty would be more appropriate in these situations, but that would be too sensible for the AFL.
 

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Andy_Mac

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 24, 2009
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Just another inconsistent AFL rule.

In the last 5-10 minutes tonight Petracca ran within 2m of Allen 55m out from goal, no 'protected area' 50. In the last minute Petty held up play, no 50.

You can call it salty that 3 50s were paid for the night and none went our way, but I believe those would've been paid under different circumstances. I.e. earlier in the game or in Allen's case if he was at half back or something rather than guaranteed a goal.

Frustrates the sh*t out of fans when a technical 50 you see once a year if that is paid then a textbook example of something they pay multiple times a game is let go late in the game. Jim Stynes walking through the mark in the 1987 prelim is an iconic but infamous moment. I have no idea how many other 15m penalties were paid in that game but the decision was right. He did it, it was paid, Buckenara kicked the goal.
28 - 17

It's OK. As per normal, you did very well with the umpires.
 

kickazz

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 12, 2010
9,877
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Geelong
Its a punishment for a 2nd offence, no matter what that offence is. And as Bunk Moreland says if it was a smaller punishment Coaches would abuse it.
Yeah exactly this - the 50m penalty is not there for severe rule breaches, it is there as an escalation when a team already has a free or a mark.

The only exceptions historically (where a straight free and 50 is paid together) have been:

1. Severe, flagrant on-the-spot reportable incidents, such as striking.
2. (This one only lasted a few years in the 90s, in fact I cannot specifically remember it being revoked) Professional free kick where you trip a player by hand who otherwise was easily running away.

Currently, the only one we'd ever see (and it has been a while) is for interchange infringements.
 

Outback Footy

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Mar 5, 2015
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They really need a 15m or 25m alternative, 50m is just too big a punishment in most cases.
50m came in when 15 was shown as no disincentive. Teams were tactically slowing play, throw the ball away etc, only penalty, eventually, is 15m. By that time tge defense were well set up. 50 was brought in because it was too large a penalty and therefore much more unlikely to be abused.
it’s much rarer than 15s were at the time of the change. Because of that I’d say it’s worth keeping
 

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