Yes, unintended consequences but hardly unforeseeable if they'd expended more than a single brain cell in coming up with the new rule. Some poor umpire, somewhere down the line, was inevitably going to have to take an axe to one of the most revered and distinctive elements of the game, all because the AFL didn't like 'the look' of that one guy who stuck his boot into someone's face...in an indiscretion which could be penalised under the existing laws of the game.Exactly. Or contact with a hip or chest into the back of the player in front. What about sitting on someone's shoulder, isn't that high contact?
The AFL has a history of implementing new rules or interpretations which continually have unintended consequences. It wasn't that long ago that the in the back rule was changed (Clement continually spanking Hird if I remember correctly) and we've now seen it revert back to pretty much what it always was because all the changes did was unleash major confusion among players, supporters, and officials.
Howe's only issue was that McDonald judged the flight of the footy so poorly that Howe had to reach further forward for the ride than he should have needed to.
They say they'll 'review' the rule at the end of the year, but these days each end-of-year review by the 'custodians' of the game makes me more fearful about the next instalment of stupidity.