2017 2019 2020
- Sep 17, 2006
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
- Furies Premiers 2010
As mentioned the forward is allowed to follow an opponent up the ground to cover them, once they are no longer involved in the play i.e. ball is on the opposite side of the ground to where they are, they are required to head back into the 50.Your asking a lot of the umpire. How is the umpire supposed to know who is who’s direct opponent or if they are rotating up the ground with a teammate running back to replace him?
when does the umpire decide if a player is no longer directly involved in the contest and must return to his post inside 50?
This rule would require the umpire to have a feel for the game.
This is where the forward can become more of a threat. Lets say we're at the MCG and the ball is travelling down the wing on the Southern Stand side and the forward/defender are on the Members side of the ground. As soon as the forward thinks they are no longer required to cover their opponent they can head towards the F50. The defender then needs to decide whether they stay up the ground for the switch or if they head back to cover their opponent. So basically it becomes a game of Russian roulette for the defender and forward. If the defender gets burnt a couple of times by conceding easy goals they will soon stop gambling and will tighten up on their opponent at the same time if the forward gets burnt by the defender setting up shots on goal for their team the forward will need to tighten up.
Once the forward enters the forward 50 and has no opponent the opposition is given say 15-20 seconds for a player to come in to the D50 to man them up. If not then you award a free kick. Again not that difficult to police as you can use the goal umpire at that end of the ground to ensure that is happening. As they are in direct communication with the field umpires they can then call any infringements. As soon as a team conceded a few free kicks inside their F50 that costs them scoring chances the defender will quickly be told to tighten up.