Ending congestion

Bunk Moreland

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The AFL has trialled and implemented all types of new rules to ease congestion and get the ball moving.

I reckon the one that would make the biggest difference is staring us right in the face.

Look at what happens now at EVERY contested situation.

Ball-up around the ground? The ruckmen tap it down, a player takes possession in the maul and is immediately set upon by opponents. Another ball-up.

Boundary throw-in? Same thing. Ball-up.

Two players chasing a contested ball. One gets there a split second before the other, grabs the footy, and is immediately tackled by the opponent. Ball-up.

The issue? Simple. It's players taking possession.

They grab it and try to bullock their way through, invariably being caught and dragged to ground for another stoppage. This is what results in stoppage after stoppage, allowing everybody to set up around the ball.

This is when the game most resembles the ugliest sport of all, rugby union.

The solution? Also simple. Get rid of the "prior opportunity" ruling.

There should be no such thing. If you're caught with the ball in a legal tackle, then it's holding the ball, and a free kick to your opponent.

Your options in traffic?

1: Don't take possession. Knock it on toward a teammate and keep the game moving.

2: Keep your arms free in the tackle and get a handball away, and keep the game moving.

3: Break the tackle and you're away, keeping the game moving.

To assist with it the ruckman could belt the ball further, into space.

If you can't do 2 or 3, then don't take possession of the ball. Keep it moving. You can't just give players the right to grab the ball when they have multiple opponents around them to immediately grab them and force yet another stoppage.

Repeated stoppages don't break, and the game doesn't get moving again, until one of these things happens anyway. So enforce in in the rules.

It's only really an issue in traffic, which is (by definition) congestion. So make the players get it moving, or pay a free kick against them.

Basically every time there was a tackle, unless the player immediately disposes by handball, there'd be a free kick... holding the ball, or against the tackler if it's too high etc. No matter what, the game would have to keep moving.

I suspect it'd also be simpler to umpire, and without so many breaks for stoppages, you couldn't have 35 players following the ball around constantly.
 

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demondavey

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So don’t take possession but knock it on? You know what would work? Don’t blow a whistle and don’t allow congestion around a stoppage
 

Bunk Moreland

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I and others have put this idea forward before, worth a trial in the pre season IMO.
Players taking possession and being immediately wrapped up is the cause of almost all stoppages and congestion.

They’re able to do it because they know they’ll be protected by the prior opportunity interpretation.

It leads to rugby.

It’s the only way to stop it... penalise those who don’t move the ball on.
 

pazza

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Plenty of ways.

One that keeps cropping up is limiting the use of interchange. Want to rest...go to the forward and back pockets - not spend 2-3 minutes on the bench every time. Might improve goalkicking from midfield groups and resting rucks - let alone create potential mismatches.

Another I think is a strict interpretation of the 6-6-6 rule. Not just after every goal - but every bloody stoppage.
 

Toump Ass

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I love prior opportunity. It's great when the player takes possession, gets put on his arse and then does the thing where they pretend they're trying to lay a handball off even though the umpire has already called the whistle. I love the fact we have part-time referees who adjudicate whether the player with the ball's theatrical performance was "realistic" enough. It's what makes our game great. We need more rules that are "interpreted" rather than "enforced", not less.

If you don't like it, go watch netball.
 

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RUNVS

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I like team prior opportunity. So player A is free to win the ball, and he gets normal prior opportunity, but as soon as he handballs it to a teammate then that teammate loses all prior opportunity.

This would stop small handballs in packs and it would mean player A would be much more keen on getting the ball out of the pack as soon as possible, since handballing it to a teammate 1 metre away would no longer be a good option.
 

Bunk Moreland

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Not a bad idea. It also helps eliminate ridiculous double-standard HTB interpretation.
Yep, that’s a major advantage. If you’re tackled, and don’t immediately dispose of it legally, you’re gone.

At the moment it’s ridiculous - did they / did they not have prior opportunity, if so they have to dispose of it, if not they only have to make an attempt to dispose... its an absolute ******* minefield.

Simple... if you’re caught and don’t get rid of it, it’s HTB.
 

Great8

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Get rid of any coach who has been under Roos for starters
 

Jack5

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I think prior opportunity needs to stay but players are allowed way too much time. You only need to look at how quickly they are capable of getting a handball away when they want to. So fast in fact that some teams appear to throw it and the ump can't tell its that quick. The rule is not "prior opportunity to dispose of the ball cleanly to one of your teammates who is in an advantaged position to progress the ball without pressure or to try to score" but its being interpreted that way and so it becomes a game of take the tackler on (as much as the ump will allow- and players are good at working out where this boundary is) win and dish off to a free player or lose and there is no real penalty and a stoppage follows. If there was no prior at all I think it could end up looking a bit too much like volleyball. they need to tighten up, a lot, on how much time is deemed prior opportunity.
 

Bunk Moreland

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I dunno, that sounds like it would turn the game into non-stop paddleball.
It actually doesn’t really. If you watch any passage of play, players are constantly taking possession and immediately handballing etc, which would be fine. Most of the time it’s ok.

It’s the ones at stoppages, or when a player takes possession knowing he’ll be immediately tackled, that are the problem. It’s just rugby.

In those situations... under the current rules, the only outcome can be a ball-up.

This would stop it. A player would only take possession if he could immediately kick or handball.

If you want to keep the game moving, you need to stop allowing players to stop the game by just absorbing a tackle and forcing another ball-up.
 

TigerGlory

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No matter what rules the AFL come up with the coaches will come up with tactics to get around it.

The solution? Stop changing the rules and then the coaches can focus on outsmarting each other rather than trying to outsmart the AFL.
 

Bunk Moreland

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Here’s a perfect example from today’s game from Twitter.

It’s a stoppage and look what happens.

Players grab the ball knowing they can try to charge through without risk.

Result?

Rugby.

Another stoppage.

So it’d be holding the ball. The behaviour would change... keep the game moving.

https://imgflip.com/gif-maker
 

legend166

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You certainly don't need to get rid of it, you just need to tighten it up. Basically I'd do two things:

1. Actually take a literal interpretation of 'prior opportunity'. If you pick the ball up and have enough time up to take even two steps, or try to evade a tackle, you had enough time to throw the ball on your boot or do a handball.

2. Lower the threshold for what's considered a successful tackle. You basically have to lay a perfect tackle now to get a holding the ball decision. Even the old 360 spin rule seems out of the window now. Or the one that annoys me the most - a player will have possession of the ball with clear prior opportunity, and will get tackled to the ground, but then because the tackler doesn't do the whole "wrap them up with their legs" thing, the player can hop back up.
 

sprockets

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The AFL has trialled and implemented all types of new rules to ease congestion and get the ball moving.

I reckon the one that would make the biggest difference is staring us right in the face.

Look at what happens now at EVERY contested situation.

Ball-up around the ground? The ruckmen tap it down, a player takes possession in the maul and is immediately set upon by opponents. Another ball-up.

Boundary throw-in? Same thing. Ball-up.

Two players chasing a contested ball. One gets there a split second before the other, grabs the footy, and is immediately tackled by the opponent. Ball-up.

The issue? Simple. It's players taking possession.

They grab it and try to bullock their way through, invariably being caught and dragged to ground for another stoppage. This is what results in stoppage after stoppage, allowing everybody to set up around the ball.

This is when the game most resembles the ugliest sport of all, rugby union.

The solution? Also simple. Get rid of the "prior opportunity" ruling.

There should be no such thing. If you're caught with the ball in a legal tackle, then it's holding the ball, and a free kick to your opponent.

Your options in traffic?

1: Don't take possession. Knock it on toward a teammate and keep the game moving.

2: Keep your arms free in the tackle and get a handball away, and keep the game moving.

3: Break the tackle and you're away, keeping the game moving.

To assist with it the ruckman could belt the ball further, into space.

If you can't do 2 or 3, then don't take possession of the ball. Keep it moving. You can't just give players the right to grab the ball when they have multiple opponents around them to immediately grab them and force yet another stoppage.

Repeated stoppages don't break, and the game doesn't get moving again, until one of these things happens anyway. So enforce in in the rules.

It's only really an issue in traffic, which is (by definition) congestion. So make the players get it moving, or pay a free kick against them.

Basically every time there was a tackle, unless the player immediately disposes by handball, there'd be a free kick... holding the ball, or against the tackler if it's too high etc. No matter what, the game would have to keep moving.

I suspect it'd also be simpler to umpire, and without so many breaks for stoppages, you couldn't have 35 players following the ball around constantly.
My idea Bunk, not yours :p

I've said it elsewhere - get rid of prior opportunity. It's a skill to know what's going on around you and if you know you're going to be tackled when you get the ball you should knock it on instead.
The real answer is:

1. Get rid of prior opportunity, hence one less rule. Players should be aware of what's around them and not take hold of the ball if they know they'll be tackled immediately. They'll be forced to knock the ball on rather than knock the ball out after two players have fallen on it,
2. Award a free against ANY disposal of the ball other than a handball or kick, including it being stripped or knocked out as a result of the tackle. Stoppages, particularly ball-ups, lead to congestion, and kicks spread the players,
3. Make the minimum kick distance for a mark 20m.
But do they, or will they take advantage of it? Other than that I agree. A player should just tap the ball clear rather than take hold of it if he's about to be tackled, which will also put an end to those kind of stoppages. If you can't see that you're about to be tackled too bad, you need better awareness.
 

Bunk Moreland

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My idea Bunk, not yours :p
Ha, great minds!

In all seriousness, it demonstrates that multiple people can see it and it’s worth investigating, I think.

I was actually talking to an older bloke earlier about it... he played a lot of footy in the 80s and 90s incl in the VFA. He agreed... said the current rulings are ridiculous and it’s the biggest contributor to congestion.

Paraphrasing him

“You had a choice... you never had to take possession of the ball. That was your prior opportunity. If you did, you had to get rid of it or it was a free against you. It was your responsibility to keep the game moving. Now it’s not. Coaches stack huge numbers around stoppages and they wrestle it like a ruck in rugby, because there’s no penalty for doing so... worst case is it’s just another ball up because of this “prior opportunity” crap.”
 
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rogiebear93

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So there's secondary stoppages around ruck contests? Hmm, if only the AFL would allow a third player to go up and thump the ball clear of that congestion.

This is the ridiculous part to me. The AFL makes rules that have the byproduct of creating congestion, and then they try to combat the byproduct of that congestion with more rules.
 

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