Rules AFL Rules have been making things worse, not better

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YeOldTiger

Club Legend
Jul 22, 2016
2,667
9,182
AFL Club
Richmond
The man on the mark rule is going to be a joke. The worst thing they can do to the game to ruin the appeal and look of it is to make it easy. Footy is supposed to be instinctive and the rules are mostly for players safety and fairness of the game. It shouldn't be about giving the offensive team and edge.

The more the AFL try and stifle defence the more teams are going to focus on defence when it comes to selecting players either through the draft or in their best 22. It's going to make the game very ugly.

More scoring isn't a good thing if the scoring looks easy. The most loved games in the world are games where the scoring is difficult and the game is challenging. Having a rule that lets the attacking player get around the defending player is going to look horrible, especially to people who haven't seen the game.

The best thing the AFL could do for the game is to fully embrace a defensive game and adapt the rules to suite attacking talented and highly skilled footballers over athletes. I've said it before and I will say it again. Scrap the kick out rule, scrap the man on the mark rule, scrap the interchange caps and put 5 on the bench. Then watch bigger stronger powerful footballers with skills and smarts and taller players up forward come to the fore over athletes who don't have these qualities but can run up and down the ground all day.
Well said. (Not sure you even need five on the bench if you scrap those rubbish rules). The other ridiculous rule is the nominated ruckman rule. Here they are worried about congestion and one of the ways to clear congestions was to have someone third man up and knock the ball forward into the clear. It used to only happen a couple of times a game yet they killed it off and made ruckman put their hands up like children at school. Cue MORE congestion.

Scrap the rules of the game commitee. They always want to change the rules to justify their existence and get rid of Shocking who is an out and out idiot. Name ONE rule he's implemented that's made the game a better spectacle.

Finally, if you ARE going to change the man on the mark rule, making them stand there like a statue is equally as stupid as the hands up nominate your ruckman rule. At least allow 1m lateral movement either way so you can still man the mark in a (naturally) defensive way and if you overreach that then sure, give a 50 then the same way you would if someone goes over (forward of) the mark. That way you still cut down on the marker chopping off the 45 degree kick (if they think that opens up the game - the reason given) but don't make them look ridiculous.

I'm betting there will be half a dozen of them paid in the first game of the first round (anything from the centre forward will mean a shot on goal) and probably the first few games (let's hope it doesn't effect the results !) before the interpretation is changed (due to the uproar and the bad look) again to make it more lenient. Infuriating everyone.

Seriously, you can read these morons like a book. A book you've read over and over ad nauseum !

Leave the bloody game alone.
 

Suma Magic

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 22, 2009
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The new laws are out: https://sanfl-content.imgix.net/content/uploads/2021/02/18144238/2021-Laws-of-the-Game-WEB.pdf

They have changed the protected zone for kickins (in addition to extending the mark). So now no one can be within 24m of goal all the way to the boundary.

1614155996989.png


And the wording from the man on the mark rule is there. it makes no sense to me. What the hell does "One player from the opposing team may stand on the mark; or otherwise be directed by a field umpire" mean?

And why does it say that the other 21 players from the opposing team can be behind the mark or outside the protected area. What the hell does that mean, shouldn't all 21 just be outside the protected area?

1614156057994.png
 

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Thetrader15

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 16, 2015
20,902
25,051
AFL Club
Adelaide
The new laws are out: https://sanfl-content.imgix.net/content/uploads/2021/02/18144238/2021-Laws-of-the-Game-WEB.pdf

They have changed the protected zone for kickins (in addition to extending the mark). So now no one can be within 24m of goal all the way to the boundary.

View attachment 1064385

And the wording from the man on the mark rule is there. it makes no sense to me. What the hell does "One player from the opposing team may stand on the mark; or otherwise be directed by a field umpire" mean?

And why does it say that the other 21 players from the opposing team can be behind the mark or outside the protected area. What the hell does that mean, shouldn't all 21 just be outside the protected area?

View attachment 1064389
1. Let's see how consistently the 10m is enforced when a player is on the boundary and going to kick around the corner.

2. Can we save the paint and not bother with the goal square now please.
 

Thetrader15

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 16, 2015
20,902
25,051
AFL Club
Adelaide
Well said. (Not sure you even need five on the bench if you scrap those rubbish rules). The other ridiculous rule is the nominated ruckman rule. Here they are worried about congestion and one of the ways to clear congestions was to have someone third man up and knock the ball forward into the clear. It used to only happen a couple of times a game yet they killed it off and made ruckman put their hands up like children at school. Cue MORE congestion.

Scrap the rules of the game commitee. They always want to change the rules to justify their existence and get rid of Shocking who is an out and out idiot. Name ONE rule he's implemented that's made the game a better spectacle.

Finally, if you ARE going to change the man on the mark rule, making them stand there like a statue is equally as stupid as the hands up nominate your ruckman rule. At least allow 1m lateral movement either way so you can still man the mark in a (naturally) defensive way and if you overreach that then sure, give a 50 then the same way you would if someone goes over (forward of) the mark. That way you still cut down on the marker chopping off the 45 degree kick (if they think that opens up the game - the reason given) but don't make them look ridiculous.

I'm betting there will be half a dozen of them paid in the first game of the first round (anything from the centre forward will mean a shot on goal) and probably the first few games (let's hope it doesn't effect the results !) before the interpretation is changed (due to the uproar and the bad look) again to make it more lenient. Infuriating everyone.

Seriously, you can read these morons like a book. A book you've read over and over ad nauseum !

Leave the bloody game alone.
The biggest cause of congestion ATM is umpires not calling ball ups early enough, and waiting for rucks to put their hands up to go to the toilet.
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
7,160
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AFL Club
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Just a thought on what the AFL are trying to achieve with their rule changes and why I think they are going to drive things backwards.

For a start, as long as footy has existed the formula to a good quality contest has always been about having the balance between Pressure Applied V Skill Level. You watch old black and white games and their pressure was next to 0, the skills were ordinary but the contest and quality of the footy was terrific. In the 90s the players became professional and greater athletes and their pressure applied was significantly higher but so was the skill level and things were balanced but at the moment things are a little in favour of the pressure side of things and while people love to blame coaches and tactics, which do play a part, I believe it's the AFL's very measures to rectify this that is causing the problems.

For a start lets look at bench rotations. The AFL has an idea that if they make the players tired that it will open the game up and they will stick to their positions more. IMO this could not be further from the truth. To get around this teams will train their players to be runners, select runners and play a lot more tempo and slow moving footy. To think you can stop teams running from one end to the other is ridiculous, whatever you do AFL sides will keep doing this and keep defending in zones. That tactic is here to stay and IMO the only way to make things better is to embrace it and focus on what makes teams able to cope with the pressure and congestion.

So going back to what I said earlier on how good quality football is about having the balance between skill and pressure, I think rather than try to use the rules to remove the pressure the AFL should be looking at ways to increase the skill and having players who can cope with the pressure. The pressure IMO is here to stay, fast athletes, numbers around the ball, zone defending will always be a thing and that is fine.

The problem here is that rule changes that limit bench rotations are putting teams under more pressure to play athletes. If you can't run a marathon you don't play. The more the AFL try and make the players 'tired', the more athletes we will see in teams and those skilled footballer who can't run those big numbers, they don't get picked.

The other thing we are seeing is longer development timeframes for young players. A teenager to be AFL ready needs to add size and strengthen and build their engine up to be able to run a small marathon at pace. It takes years for a young player to get there and this has really hurt rebuilding sides as their top new players are mostly 4 years away from being able to compete at the level unless they are a freak. Gone are the days where a young guy could have a few good preseasons in the gym and play on and off the bench developing in the seniors and having an impact. Now we are seeing top draft picks having to spend years in the reserves because it's just too much to develop that level of running and develop their bodies.

You're also seeing a lot of poorly skilled blokes running around and this is my biggest gripe with interchange restrictions. A good example is Matthew Cottrell of Carlton, nothing against him, he's a terrific young player but he's an athlete first at this stage in his career. He's an endurance beast, leads time trials but his skills are ordinary yet he got a game ahead of a lot of other far better skilled players on Carltons list last season and it was mostly due to his ability to run hard up and down the ground. He's one of countless examples here where teams are picking runners over more skilled types.

Now if the AFL think they have a problem with the pressure of the game, how is changing the rules to promote athletes ahead of skilled pure footballers going to help? Think of all the slow and not overly enduring midfield guns over the years not getting a game because their running was not up to scratch. Congestion gets worse when skills get works. Pressure tests a players skills and it takes a fumble or a missed kick or missed handball and we have another ball up or another turnover. Nothing limits scoring and creates ugly football like poor skills do.

The AFL call it congestion but really it's just extra pressure. Throw as much congestion at Richmond or Geelong and they still end up playing open free flowing good quality football. The reason is because they have the skill, strength and height up forward to do it.

If you want to beat congestion and overcome the extra pressure the rules need to support teams to play the players who can do it. So how do you beat it? You need genuine footballers with really good skills around the contest, you need a lot of physical strength around the contest and you need tall forwards. All these things are being discouraged by the AFL's interchange rules.

Players are thinner and lighter now so they can cope with the running but it makes them easier to tackle. Big strong blokes who can break tackles and get handballs away will take the issues with congestion out of the game. We're seeing Carlton admit that making Cripps lighter last season was a mistake. They made him lighter and it took away his ability to break tackles and get his hands free. Encouraging bigger stronger bodies around the contests is a must if congestion is to be handled. The harder players are to tackle the easier they can get the ball away.

Tall forwards are hard to fit into a team that can't rotate the bench. Where do you put your big strong marking CHF, FF and second ruckman? Fast ball movement is the key to getting around congestion and defensive tactics and one of the best ways to do that is to kick long to a really good tall marking player and get it to the back of the zone, but if teams can't fit them in then they can't do it. There is no doubt the extra running requirements make it hard for teams to play all these big talls. The way around it is open rotations and having 5 on the bench. IMO teams would go with a defender a forward, two who can play midfield and a reserve ruck if there were 5 on the bench. The resting ruck makes it easy to play a permanent full forward and center half forward and that makes for a much better game where fast ball movement and zone breaking long kicks come into play.

Teams want forward pressure so they don't want to be too tall up forward and in general but give teams another bench spot they will fit that extra tall in and will be more likely to go with permanent talls up forward. This will increase scoring and quicken up play and keep things more open.

The other thing I am not convinced with yet is being able to play on out of the goal square. Yeah it enables teams to get the ball further away but teams expect it. It spreads the defence quicker but this is not always a good thing. What it's doing is moving the back of the zone further away. With the old structure the zone was pressed further up. Sure it made things tighter but it made it easier for teams to get it to the back of the zone and then go over the top into space going forward. Richmond of 2017 were elite at this. I think it encourages teams to defend their backline a lot harder and flood the oppositions forward line rather than defend their forward line harder but leave it open out the back should the opposition get the ball to the back of the zone quick enough.

I think the AFL need to rethink their stance on how they plan to open the game up. I think they need to discourage this requirement for running they have created and make the game more favourable to players who are bigger stronger and skilled who may not be super athletes and make it easier for teams to go taller up forward.

There is no doubt that the two new sides have had an impact on the quality of the competition and that needs to be noted when considering having any more teams come in. The pressure has stayed the same but you bring in two new teams and that dilutes the quality of skills over the whole competition.

I'm not sure what other people think of this but it's just a thought. Not a great deal has changed over the last 10 or so years in how teams defend but the rules have changed and that has changed the game and not in good ways IMO. The AFL has meant well but they haven't got it right. I think they are worried about speeding the game up as well in regards to players getting hurt/concussed and perhaps this is the real reason they are slowing the game down.

IMO if you had 5 on the bench and no restrictions I think you would have a game where teams played stronger and more skilled players and they would mean they coped with congestion a lot better and they would play taller up forward. You would also see more young skilled players developing in the AFL rather than in the reserves. I think you would see a quicker game where teams spent more time attacking and less time playing tempo and that would lift the scores up. Teams would still zone and get numbers around the ball but it would be less effective with more skilled and stronger players.

Thoughts?
I like a lot of the points you’ve raised.

Regarding your suggestion of 5 in the interchange bench, I’m not sure if this would affect the congestion in a positive way. As you’ve hypothesised, it may allow coaches to pick a taller or younger emerging player for the 5th player on the bench. However, a coach could also pick a running type player, and this could potentially worsen the zone defense and further congestion!

I think overall, the rules perhaps need to limit the way the teams do zone defense, to restrict teams from running every player from one end to the other, ad nauseum. This would give a better chance for more effective offensive plays. How the AFL limit this current team zone defense though, is up for further debate.
 

gbatman

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I like a lot of the points you’ve raised.

Regarding your suggestion of 5 in the interchange bench, I’m not sure if this would affect the congestion in a positive way. As you’ve hypothesised, it may allow coaches to pick a taller or younger emerging player for the 5th player on the bench. However, a coach could also pick a running type player, and this could potentially worsen the zone defense and further congestion!

I think overall, the rules perhaps need to limit the way the teams do zone defense, to restrict teams from running every player from one end to the other, ad nauseum. This would give a better chance for more effective offensive plays. How the AFL limit this current team zone defense though, is up for further debate.
I was thinking 5 on the bench because teams would find it easier to pick a second ruckman and that would make it easier for teams to have a stays at home center half forward and full forward. Taller targets up front help sides go forward quicker and use long kicking more and would see more attacking plays. Would they pick a running type player? I don't know.

I don't think fresher players necessarily equals more defending. Teams get tired and park their players behind the ball and slow down their ball movement once fatigue sets in. Fatigue doesn't necessarily mean less congestion but I think fresh players might mean less tempo slow play and more attacking play, but I could be wrong. Will be interesting to see how teams approach more bench restrictions.

I think teams will run players from one end to the other regardless and slow tempo play might be what comes when players get tired. But hopefully not. I guess we will find out.
 

Pickett4GOAT

Debutant
May 27, 2020
136
341
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
The standing the mark rule will be a disaster.

How about getting the HTB rule right before the AFL introduce a new rule to overcome problem that's not there.
The problem is Steve Hocking. I have felt for a long time that he cares more about his corporate resume and brand than the sport of AFL. The new man on the mark rule is a spit on the face of 150 years of history. The worst part is that AFL house argue that its what the fans want-free flowing football. Current opinion on the matter says otherwise. Even if a majority prefer attacking football over tactical progression, the solution is not to change fundamental rules of the sport.
 

HawkMongrel

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Jun 15, 2008
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I genuinely hope really, really horrible things happen to the people in charge of our league.

 

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owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
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That's precisely my point.
That it's a modern thing for the man on the mark to traipse around left and right cutting off angles while the umpire measures geometry to make sure they're moving in an exact arc in relation to the kicker? Glad we're on the same page
 

Pickett4GOAT

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May 27, 2020
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That it's a modern thing for the man on the mark to traipse around left and right cutting off angles while the umpire measures geometry to make sure they're moving in an exact arc in relation to the kicker? Glad we're on the same page
I thought you meant the rule had barely changed. It may be understated but being able to properly man the mark has always been a big part of our game. With the new rule he goes from being an active defender to a totem pole.
 

owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
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I thought you meant the rule had barely changed. It may be understated but being able to properly man the mark has always been a big part of our game. With the new rule he goes from being an active defender to a totem pole.
Properly manning the mark consisted mostly of standing on the spot flailing and maybe jumping for most of the last 150 years, just because players could move, doesn't mean they did. Cutting off the angles in to the corridor is a relatively modern thing that the AFL clearly want to stop players from being able to do.
 

Pickett4GOAT

Debutant
May 27, 2020
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Properly manning the mark consisted mostly of standing on the spot flailing and maybe jumping for most of the last 150 years, just because players could move, doesn't mean they did. Cutting off the angles in to the corridor is a relatively modern thing that the AFL clearly want to stop players from being able to do.
I just don't think fans want to be dumbed down for the sake of a few extra goals.
 

Demon in Hell

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Oct 9, 2004
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Honestly that McKernan 50 for moving BACKWARDs on the mark is a joke.

S HOCKING

Should be immediately removed from his position within the AFL.
 

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