News Holding the Ball rule change for 2022 Announced

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Dec 9, 2006
AFL Club
Other Teams
Aston Villa Traralgon Football Club
1 year is a small sample size, and scoring could have been down for other factors also.
You labelled it derogatively as a change that promoted auskick, just pointing out that auskick is what we had.
Lol, yeah, because nominating rucks, 6/6/6 and stand isn’t aus kick.
Fun fact, all the rules Hocking brought in, scoring decreased each year.
My term wasn’t derogatory, it’s an opinion shared by a majority.

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Club Legend
Oct 18, 2018
AFL Club

THE AFL will implement a crackdown on holding the ball interpretations in 2022, while it will also further punish delay of game tactics during the upcoming season.

The League wrote to all clubs on Monday, outlining that umpires will now be "less lenient towards players who have had prior opportunity and do not immediately and correctly dispose of the football".

The stricter holding the ball interpretation includes a focus on players ducking into tackles, with clubs warned that "a player who ducks their head prior to being legally tackled" will be penalised more stringently by umpires.


Finally. My biggest grievance with the AFL (apart from throws by Bulldogs).

Hope this does become effective as it will promote more free flowing footy.


Club Legend
Oct 18, 2018
AFL Club
I like the rule as it stands. You can hold onto the ball as long as you like and go into a tackle and keep the ball.
Stuff all these people that say you should release the ball to the other side.
More tackles more Fantasy points. Everyone is a winner.

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Brownlow Medallist
Oct 7, 2014
AFL Club
Until you see how coaches exploit it hard to tell how much good it'll have

Off Tap

The sleeping giant is now awake...
May 13, 2007
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Seahawks, Huskies, Newcastle Utd.
To be honest the only way I think the AFL can properly fix the game is going down to 15 or 16 a side, these sort of rule changes they have brought in the last decade are just slowly the decline in scoring and how the ball moves, not fixing it. Having 4 to 6 fewer players on the field would fix the game.
This is a great train of thought which I've been saying since they went to 22 players for each team.

From the time that the emphasis went towards the professional athlete over the pure footballer, the game has been choked by the packs that follow the ball around the ground.

Leave it up to the teams how they want to play with fewer players on the ground as long as there's 8 in the middle at each bounce.

16 a side would more than likely lead to teams playing with 5 forwards. 15 a side would be really interesting as it would symmetrically throw out the balance of the field.

Would it lead though to teams dropping a loose player into defence which would conversely negate scoring?


Club Legend
Apr 25, 2010
AFL Club
Other Teams
Whoever happens to be winning
Easy fruit to pick from the AFL.

Any update regarding how the MRP won’t be a chook lotto?

Off Stump 89

Team Captain
Mar 23, 2020
AFL Club
St Kilda
Just like all rule changes/interpretations.

Umpires will be red hot round 1-3. Scoring will increase and rule changes get lauded by the media.

Coaching changes, players change the way they play, umpires become more lax.

Scores go back down, or even lower.

Rule changes continue to get lauded by the media for a further 15 rounds before a personality on The Couch finally notices a trend that the rule changes don't work

On SM-G996B using mobile app


May 26, 2017
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Football Operations Department Contact to Club Football Departments - Time Delay and Holding the Ball

The AFL has today written to Club General Managers of Football and Senior Coaches outlining tighter interpretations of existing rules relating to Time Delay and Holding the Ball ahead of the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

This follows in-depth game analysis across the course of the 2021 season and comes after meetings with each AFL Club led by Executive General Manager Football Operations Andrew Dillon and General Manager Football Brad Scott held across November and December last year.

In summary, the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season will see the following:

Time Delay
  • In 2022, Umpires will be less lenient towards Players who deliberately delay the play. A Free Kick or 50-Metre Penalty will be awarded under existing Law 19.2 (f).
  • In 2022, Umpires will no longer give a warning to Players who deliberately engage in Time Wasting and a Free Kick will be awarded under existing Law 18.13 (d).
Holding the Ball
  • In 2022, Umpires will be less lenient towards Players who have had Prior Opportunity and do not immediatelyand Correctly Dispose of the Football when they are Legally Tackled under existing Law 18.6.2.
    • In 2022, a Free Kick will be awarded against a Player who ducks their head prior to being Legally Tackled and does not immediately and Correctly Dispose of the Football. Umpire cues for Prior Opportunity includes: evading, fending, ducking, has a prior option (i.e. goes to handball / kick and decides not to), is balanced and steady, is awarded a mark or free-kick, or drives their head.
AFL Executive General Manager Andrew Dillon said the league looked forward to 2022 being a year of consolidation on the field despite the constantly changing environment off the field as a result of the pandemic.

“Firstly, I want to acknowledge the dedication of everyone in the football community in supporting the 2022 NAB AFL Women’s Competition,” Mr Dillon said.

“We are proud to have had the NAB AFLW Competition kick off the football calendar strongly and welcome fans back to games in 2022. To see the standard of footy on display in the openings rounds and the emerging talent making an immediate impact on the competition is very exciting for football and highlights the continued progression of AFLW.

“In the last week, players from AFL men’s programs returned to the training track and those players, along with fans across the country, are excited for the AFL season to commence in a couple of months.

“We are looking forward to 2022 being a year of consolidation and, as such, want to reinforce there would be no material rule changes introduced for the men’s competition this season. Following meetings with each of the 18 AFL Clubs across November and December last year, we have worked closely as a Football Operations and Umpiring Department to tighten up on the interpretations of existing rules relating to Time Delay and Holding the Ball.

“In relation to time delay, there will be less leniency towards players who delay play and, secondly, with holding the ball there will be less leniency towards players who have had prior opportunity and do not immediately dispose of the football.

“The tightening up of these existing rules comes after the Game Analysis team, made up of AFL and AFL Club staff, identified trends in the way the game was being played and umpired in the AFL and aims to deliver a game that is played and umpired in line with the spirit and intention that is consistent with the Laws of Australian Football.

“AFL umpires have also resumed training and we commend their commitment and professionalism as we worked through these interpretations as a collective. Last year, AFL umpires took part in over 500 club visits across the pre-season period which was beneficial to both players and umpires. We will continue that connection between AFL umpires and AFL Clubs in the lead up to games in 2022.”

The AFL’s Game Analysis Team will continue to analyse data, insights and identify trends that are shaping the way the game is played in the AFL and AFLW competitions.

The rules, as written in the Laws of Australian Football and referred to above, can be found below:

The wording of the law refers to where a field Umpire is of the opinion that a Player is unnecessarily causing a delay in play.

19.1 Spirit and Intention
After a Mark or Free Kick has been awarded to a Player, a Fifty-Metre Penalty will be awarded against the opposing Team which delays or impedes the play, or behaves in an unsportsmanlike manner.

19.2 When Imposed
Where a field Umpire has awarded a Mark or Free Kick to a Player, or a Player is preparing to bring or bringing the football back into play after a Behind is scored, a Fifty-Metre Penalty in favour of that Player will be awarded if the field Umpire is of the opinion that any Player or Official from the opposing Team:
(f) engages in any conduct which delays or impedes the play; or

18.13 Other
A field Umpire shall award a Free Kick against a Player who:
(d) engages in Time Wasting


18.6.1 Spirit and Intention
The Player who has Possession of the Football will be provided an opportunity to dispose of the football before rewarding an opponent for a Legal Tackle.

18.6.2 Free Kicks - Holding the Ball: Prior Opportunity
Where a Player in Possession of the Football has had Prior Opportunity, a field Umpire shall award a Free Kick if that Player does not Correctly Dispose of the football immediately when they are Legally Tackled.
Rinse repeat


Club Legend
Apr 1, 2018
AFL Club
Does anyone else think these changes will adversely affect Geelong? Biggest ducking timewasters in the game with a gameplan built around it.


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