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mightymouse75

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 26, 2011
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Cheers! 👍

But I still don't recall anyone ever calling him that. There's only one "spider" I associate with Freo... Maybe I got knocked in the head too many times.🤕:p
I don't know about city folk. But any male that is rediculously tall goes by stretch and spider from where I am from.
 

mightymouse75

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 26, 2011
7,804
7,968
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Other Teams
Wimbledon AFC
Cheers! 👍

But I still don't recall anyone ever calling him that. There's only one "spider" I associate with Freo... Maybe I got knocked in the head too many times.🤕:p
I don't know about city folk. But any male that is rediculously tall goes by stretch spider from where I am from.
 

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Dale147

Commander in Chief
Apr 14, 2018
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AFL 2021: Steve Hocking on new rules, COVID vaccines and a flexible fixture
Jon RalphNews Corp Australia
Sun, 21 February 2021 4:16PMComments
As COVID locked down large parts of Australia last year, the yearly debate about football’s aesthetics rumbled to a halt.
Footy fans effectively locked in their homes greedily accepted any standard of football as a distraction from the pandemic.
Empty stadiums, short quarters, exhausted players coming off four-day breaks — none of it mattered because it was footy, and often on a nightly basis.
But with less than a month to the March 18 Carlton-Richmond season-opener, the man in charge of how footy is played knows the familiar conversation will return.
AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking has helped bring in new rule interpretations and a new VFL competition as well as planning for the fixture madness sure to come from sporadic COVID outbreaks and the border closures that will follow.
Last year those shortened quarters meant it was impossible to compare scores to the near-decade of seasons with scoring rates consistently lower than the previous season.
Hocking sat down with the West Australian for an update on the state of the game, from those new interpretations to the VFL’s zone trial, concussion, a review of the illicit drugs policy and the end of the traditional Thursday night teams.
THE NEW MAN ON THE MARK RULE
Hocking wants to make one thing clear.
A new man-on-the-mark rule, which will effectively lock the player on the spot by yelling “stand”, is not the panacea to what ails the game.
He says it is part of a suite of changes he hopes will combine to find a better balance between attack and defence, after teams scored an average of a miserly 80.4 points per game in 2019.
“This is more than the man on the mark,” Hocking said.
“Game length returns to 20 minutes quarters, there are 75 total player interchanges per match, the location of the mark from kick-ins has gone from 10m to 15m, and then there is the standing the mark rule.
“We are trying to find that better balance between attack and defence. It’s really important for the future of the game. So we want a bit more space in the game so players can actually have the ability to attack and take the game on.

“Remembering we have three weeks to go, but the feedback we are getting from clubs is that 45 (degree kick) is now available and the corridor is open, so it’s what we are trying to achieve.”

Hocking refuses to judge the success of those roles on scoring rates that are now at 50-year lows.

“No, the important thing is how the game is played. And having time and space. So a better balance between those two is what I am looking or and that’s why my (game analysis) team is working on.

“There is certainly a trend there (with lower scores). If you go back over a period of time we are trying to get the balance right. We put in the 6-6-6 rule, the kick-in piece, so we want all those things to work in harmony.”

Hocking has spent his first three years attempting to build what he calls a “greater rhythm” between players and coaches and the senior umpires.

This year the umpires have already attended 310 training sessions with clubs, explaining rules and officiating match practice and scrimmages.

The AFL hopes a combination of changes will open up the game and boost scoring.

The AFL hopes a combination of changes will open up the game and boost scoring. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Media
They will hit 500 visits by Round 1, up from around 50 several years ago, with one club having already had 25 visits over summer.

It means players have had the new man-on-the mark rule continually reinforced amid fears of a spate of 50m penalties before the new interpretation is bedded down.

“They are umpiring match simulation and bringing an education with them but also working on their skills. They are there to umpire to the rule book, and standing the mark is no different.,” Hocking says.

“We are getting everyone to work together so it’s the responsibility of the umpires to officiate to the laws but the second part is the responsibility of coaches and players to make sure they understand the rules. We have to be very careful not to place all of the responsibility at the umpires’ feet.”

So if the players don’t know the rules, it’s their own fault?

“Definitely they should know the rules.”

SLASHED INTERCHANGE
Why doesn’t the AFL just get serious about a significant cut to interchange, given clubs bleating about its reduction still pull players off only minutes into games?

Hocking says the league is open to further reductions but only if the statistics stack up to show it would definitely open up the game.

“It’s certainly something we will do behind the scenes and our game analysis team will be part of that. We will partner with Victoria University to do a lot of work on it,” he says.

“It’s been mentioned by clubs that players, particularly onballers, will have to head for other parts of the ground as opposed to going to the bench. That could be a potential upside.”

The AFL has capped rotations at 75 per game this year.

The AFL has capped rotations at 75 per game this year. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Medi
MORE ZONES?
Hocking’s game analysis group was so serious about pondering zones in the AFL they conducted extensive trials in 2018.
They stopped short in part because of the delay that was caused in herding players back into the 50m zone.
In the VFL there must be three pairs of players inside 50 — including one pair in the goalsquare — at every throw-in and kick-in.
The rule is not enforced at throw-ups around the ground.
If a team isn’t back at a kick-in they concede a 50m penalty, and if they aren’t back at a throw-in they concede a free kick.
He is genuinely excited by the possibilities, saying the rule should in theory spread the ground without fans even noticing.
“We are doing a study to support it, a piece of work on the distribution of numbers across the ground and the reason for that is maintaining a better balance between attack and defence.
“So there is a level of excitement within that competition. It may make a difference to the game and the jury is out, so we will work through it. We need to remember it’s in breaks in the games. Have a look at 6-6-6. It’s not unlike that.
“We have worked through it that it takes about 12 seconds for each boundary throw-in. For a ball-up its only eight to nine seconds so it’s not enough time to reset and spread the ground.”
Hocking says players spreading out across the ground between 60-80 times — apart from the 6-6-6 rule after goals — will enhance the game without new lines on grounds.

WHY IS THE NEW VFL CALLED THE VFL?
The new VFL is a mash-up of the old NEAFL and VFL, with 22 teams from three states.
Non-Victorian teams weren’t thrilled by the league retaining the VFL name, but Hocking says it stacked up.
“It’s just the rich history of the VFL name. It has got an unbelievable history and so we have retained that for that very reason. We understand there is some other version we could have come up with, but we have got a competition that is going to be really strong as far as the eastern states at an elite level and it’s going to support the AFL well.”

CONCUSSION AND PADDY McCARTIN
As revealed by the Herald Sun, the AFL’s concussion protocol has doubled in length, with 12 days needed before a concussed player can again take the field.
Hocking says the AFL implicitly trusts its club doctors to make the right call on diagnosing concussions that could see players missing finals as a result.
“We need to look after the health and safety of our players. If you have a look at how it’s been implemented across the AFLW, it’s been seamless,” he says.
“We have incredible doctors in the AFL. The game is supported by so many people that make good decisions on the health and safety of players.”
Former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin will play VFL for Sydney’s reserves side this year, having worked with a battery of experts after repeated concussions.
He hasn’t officially been cleared to play games, with Hocking saying a panel of experts would give the Swans guidance as he prepared to play.
“It’s a medical matter, that’s the first thing I would say. The medical team is working through that (so when he’s ready to play) that’s a process that medical team would work through.
“The most important thing in this is that his wellbeing is a priority for us.”

THE END OF THURSDAY NIGHT TEAMS
The announcement of Thursday night teams and squads was the bedrock of footy TV shows for decades, but this year teams will lodge their side 24 hours before games.
“What we found, and there was a real upside to this last year, is there is a greater flexibility for clubs. Leading into games there were a lot of late changes that were happening. This ironed out a lot of that.”
But given the explosion of fantasy teams and football betting, shouldn’t clubs be more transparent about player availability?
Hocking’s former side Geelong especially relished taking the mickey with almost-weekly late changes at one stage.
“I think what we saw last year with the 24-hour piece made a big difference and it was far worse prior and it has sorted itself out, even if there is the odd outlier,” Hocking says.
 

Square Peg

Premiership Player
Jul 20, 2014
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Nothing to do with fantasy footy but I liked the intrigue of the extended squads announced on Thursday for the Sunday matches. Just publishing the 22 with emergencies 24 hrs before the game isn't the same, half the time last year the AFL website wouldn't even list the emergencies when they listed the 22 the night before the game and you had to go hunting for them.
 

Alota

Debutant
Dec 17, 2008
60
115
Fremantle
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AFL 2021: Steve Hocking on new rules, COVID vaccines and a flexible fixture
Jon RalphNews Corp Australia
Sun, 21 February 2021 4:16PMComments
As COVID locked down large parts of Australia last year, the yearly debate about football’s aesthetics rumbled to a halt.
Footy fans effectively locked in their homes greedily accepted any standard of football as a distraction from the pandemic.
Empty stadiums, short quarters, exhausted players coming off four-day breaks — none of it mattered because it was footy, and often on a nightly basis.
But with less than a month to the March 18 Carlton-Richmond season-opener, the man in charge of how footy is played knows the familiar conversation will return.
AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking has helped bring in new rule interpretations and a new VFL competition as well as planning for the fixture madness sure to come from sporadic COVID outbreaks and the border closures that will follow.
Last year those shortened quarters meant it was impossible to compare scores to the near-decade of seasons with scoring rates consistently lower than the previous season.
Hocking sat down with the West Australian for an update on the state of the game, from those new interpretations to the VFL’s zone trial, concussion, a review of the illicit drugs policy and the end of the traditional Thursday night teams.
THE NEW MAN ON THE MARK RULE
Hocking wants to make one thing clear.
A new man-on-the-mark rule, which will effectively lock the player on the spot by yelling “stand”, is not the panacea to what ails the game.
He says it is part of a suite of changes he hopes will combine to find a better balance between attack and defence, after teams scored an average of a miserly 80.4 points per game in 2019.
“This is more than the man on the mark,” Hocking said.
“Game length returns to 20 minutes quarters, there are 75 total player interchanges per match, the location of the mark from kick-ins has gone from 10m to 15m, and then there is the standing the mark rule.
“We are trying to find that better balance between attack and defence. It’s really important for the future of the game. So we want a bit more space in the game so players can actually have the ability to attack and take the game on.

“Remembering we have three weeks to go, but the feedback we are getting from clubs is that 45 (degree kick) is now available and the corridor is open, so it’s what we are trying to achieve.”

Hocking refuses to judge the success of those roles on scoring rates that are now at 50-year lows.

“No, the important thing is how the game is played. And having time and space. So a better balance between those two is what I am looking or and that’s why my (game analysis) team is working on.

“There is certainly a trend there (with lower scores). If you go back over a period of time we are trying to get the balance right. We put in the 6-6-6 rule, the kick-in piece, so we want all those things to work in harmony.”

Hocking has spent his first three years attempting to build what he calls a “greater rhythm” between players and coaches and the senior umpires.

This year the umpires have already attended 310 training sessions with clubs, explaining rules and officiating match practice and scrimmages.

The AFL hopes a combination of changes will open up the game and boost scoring.

The AFL hopes a combination of changes will open up the game and boost scoring. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Media
They will hit 500 visits by Round 1, up from around 50 several years ago, with one club having already had 25 visits over summer.

It means players have had the new man-on-the mark rule continually reinforced amid fears of a spate of 50m penalties before the new interpretation is bedded down.

“They are umpiring match simulation and bringing an education with them but also working on their skills. They are there to umpire to the rule book, and standing the mark is no different.,” Hocking says.

“We are getting everyone to work together so it’s the responsibility of the umpires to officiate to the laws but the second part is the responsibility of coaches and players to make sure they understand the rules. We have to be very careful not to place all of the responsibility at the umpires’ feet.”

So if the players don’t know the rules, it’s their own fault?

“Definitely they should know the rules.”

SLASHED INTERCHANGE
Why doesn’t the AFL just get serious about a significant cut to interchange, given clubs bleating about its reduction still pull players off only minutes into games?

Hocking says the league is open to further reductions but only if the statistics stack up to show it would definitely open up the game.

“It’s certainly something we will do behind the scenes and our game analysis team will be part of that. We will partner with Victoria University to do a lot of work on it,” he says.

“It’s been mentioned by clubs that players, particularly onballers, will have to head for other parts of the ground as opposed to going to the bench. That could be a potential upside.”

The AFL has capped rotations at 75 per game this year.

The AFL has capped rotations at 75 per game this year. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Medi
MORE ZONES?
Hocking’s game analysis group was so serious about pondering zones in the AFL they conducted extensive trials in 2018.
They stopped short in part because of the delay that was caused in herding players back into the 50m zone.
In the VFL there must be three pairs of players inside 50 — including one pair in the goalsquare — at every throw-in and kick-in.
The rule is not enforced at throw-ups around the ground.
If a team isn’t back at a kick-in they concede a 50m penalty, and if they aren’t back at a throw-in they concede a free kick.
He is genuinely excited by the possibilities, saying the rule should in theory spread the ground without fans even noticing.
“We are doing a study to support it, a piece of work on the distribution of numbers across the ground and the reason for that is maintaining a better balance between attack and defence.
“So there is a level of excitement within that competition. It may make a difference to the game and the jury is out, so we will work through it. We need to remember it’s in breaks in the games. Have a look at 6-6-6. It’s not unlike that.
“We have worked through it that it takes about 12 seconds for each boundary throw-in. For a ball-up its only eight to nine seconds so it’s not enough time to reset and spread the ground.”
Hocking says players spreading out across the ground between 60-80 times — apart from the 6-6-6 rule after goals — will enhance the game without new lines on grounds.

WHY IS THE NEW VFL CALLED THE VFL?
The new VFL is a mash-up of the old NEAFL and VFL, with 22 teams from three states.
Non-Victorian teams weren’t thrilled by the league retaining the VFL name, but Hocking says it stacked up.
“It’s just the rich history of the VFL name. It has got an unbelievable history and so we have retained that for that very reason. We understand there is some other version we could have come up with, but we have got a competition that is going to be really strong as far as the eastern states at an elite level and it’s going to support the AFL well.”

CONCUSSION AND PADDY McCARTIN
As revealed by the Herald Sun, the AFL’s concussion protocol has doubled in length, with 12 days needed before a concussed player can again take the field.
Hocking says the AFL implicitly trusts its club doctors to make the right call on diagnosing concussions that could see players missing finals as a result.
“We need to look after the health and safety of our players. If you have a look at how it’s been implemented across the AFLW, it’s been seamless,” he says.
“We have incredible doctors in the AFL. The game is supported by so many people that make good decisions on the health and safety of players.”
Former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin will play VFL for Sydney’s reserves side this year, having worked with a battery of experts after repeated concussions.
He hasn’t officially been cleared to play games, with Hocking saying a panel of experts would give the Swans guidance as he prepared to play.
“It’s a medical matter, that’s the first thing I would say. The medical team is working through that (so when he’s ready to play) that’s a process that medical team would work through.
“The most important thing in this is that his wellbeing is a priority for us.”

THE END OF THURSDAY NIGHT TEAMS
The announcement of Thursday night teams and squads was the bedrock of footy TV shows for decades, but this year teams will lodge their side 24 hours before games.
“What we found, and there was a real upside to this last year, is there is a greater flexibility for clubs. Leading into games there were a lot of late changes that were happening. This ironed out a lot of that.”
But given the explosion of fantasy teams and football betting, shouldn’t clubs be more transparent about player availability?
Hocking’s former side Geelong especially relished taking the mickey with almost-weekly late changes at one stage.
“I think what we saw last year with the 24-hour piece made a big difference and it was far worse prior and it has sorted itself out, even if there is the odd outlier,” Hocking says.
Honestly... if they could call the AFL the VFL they would. The arrogance is astounding.
 

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Johnny Dalmas

Club Legend
Oct 16, 2015
2,260
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There is no point naming teams on Thursday night when the week's footy starts on Tuesday or Wednesday (note: I didn't say "round", I reckon that will become increasingly anachronistic)

The future of the AFL is a rolling fixture with prime-time games Tuesday/Wednesday - Sunday. Teams will go on extended inter-state tours and at various points in the season, some teams will have played more games than others.

One of the two big lessons out of last year is that this is a TV sport first and an at-ground sport second.
 

armpit

Premiership Player
Aug 8, 2013
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Jack for one, will be waiting anxiously for the derby teams to come out. It's a totally different experience for him, depending on which defender he gets.
 

apuchar

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 21, 2010
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That’s why he’s my buddy for 2021!

Quietly confident we have a player here - just need to get him on the park


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I am really looking forward to seeing him debut. I personally hadn't heard how highly Justin rated him, so I was pleasantly surprised by the article.
 

Dale147

Commander in Chief
Apr 14, 2018
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