The 'you can push/bump in a marking contest if the ball is within 5m' rule

legend166

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You know what I'm talking about, basically that when the ball is within 5m you are allowed to lay a shepard on the opposition player. I thought I'd look up the rule book just to get the exact rule:

AFL Rulebook said:
Other than the Prohibited Contact identified under Law 15.4.5, a
Player may make contact with another Player:
(a) by using his or her hip, shoulder, chest, arms or open hands
provided that the football is no more than 5 metres away from
the Player;
(b) by pushing the other Player with an open hand in the chest or
side of the body provided that the football is no more than 5
metres away from the Player;
(c) by executing a Correct Tackle;
(d) by executing a Shepherd provided that the football is no more
than 5 metres away from the Player; or
(e) if such contact is incidental to a marking contest and the Player
is legitimately Marking or attempting to Mark the football.
Dwayne Russell (yeah yeah, I know) said something pretty interesting today whilst commentating the Swans VS Melbourne game. Basically that in regards to the marking contest, the 5m rule is completely redundant as the ball falls too fast so that it's impossible to actually lay a bump on someone/push them away and then take a mark if you are to stay within the 5m rule.

Now, his source for this was some anonymous 'physicists', but when you think about it, it does make sense.

Should the law be amended so that it actually makes sense? Increase it to 10m? Make it so you can make contact after the ball reaches it's highest point in flight :p

Any thoughts?

 

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RUNVS

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I think if the ball is headed in your direction (even if it 50 metre away) you should be able push/bump your opponent.

If you can out muscle your direct opponent then you deserve to get the ball and they deserve to be pushed to the ground.
 

snrub

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Reading these rules, it is clear that the screens that forwards provide for each other prior to a lead are entirely illegal.
 

BIGBEZ

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I heard that today aswell and he's technically right but the umps just gotta have a feel for the game and they do get it right most times, our rules are full of 'grey' areas but that only adds to it imo, our games unique and as long as they are consistant Im happy but sadly theyre not.
 

yodellinhank

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The key is incidental part, and the prohibited contact in 15.4.5, specifically 15.4.5 d) :

15.4.5 Prohibited Contact and Payment of Free Kick
A field Umpire shall award a Free Kick against a Player where he or
she is satisfied that the Player has made Prohibited Contact with an
opposition Player.
A Player makes Prohibited Contact with an opposition Player if he
or she:
(a) makes contact with any part of his or her body with an
opposition Player;
(i) above the shoulders (including the top of the shoulders
or bump to the head); or
(ii) below the knees.
(b) pushes an opposition Player in the back, unless such contact
is incidental to a Marking contest and the Player is legitimately
Marking or attempting to Mark the football;

(c) holds an opposition Player who is not in possession of the
football;
(d) pushes, bumps, blocks, holds an opposition Player or
deliberately interferes with the arms of an opposition Player,
who is in the act of Marking or attempting to Mark the football;

(e) pushes, bumps, holds or blocks an opposition Player when
the football is further than 5 metres away from the opposition
Player or is out of play;
(f) pushes, bumps, holds or blocks an opposition Player who is
contesting a bounce or throw by a field Umpire or boundary
throw in;
(g) charges an opposition Player;
(h) trips or attempts to trip an opposition Player, whether by the
use of hand, arm, foot or leg;
(i) kicks or attempts to kick an opposition Player, unless contact
is accidentally made whilst the Player is Kicking the football;
(j) strikes or attempts to strike an opposition Player, whether by
hand, fist, arm, knee or head;
(k) holds or throws an opposition Player after that Player has
disposed of the ball;
(l) engaging in rough conduct against an opponent which in the
circumstances is unreasonable; or
(m) kicking or attempting to Kick the ball in a manner likely to
cause injury.
(n) bumps or makes forceful contact to an opponent from front-on
when that player has his head down over the ball.
Note:
- a player can bump an opponent’s body from side-on but any
contact forward of side-on will be deemed to be front-on;
- a player with his head down in anticipation of winning
possession of the ball or after contesting the ball will be
deemed to have his head down over the ball for the purposes
of this law.
Forget the 5 metres, it is applied mainly to general play. You can bump a player in general play who is within 5 metres of the footy. If that player is attempting to mark the footy, you can not bump him, and contact made (as in a push) must be incidental to the contest.
 

master bate

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I think if the ball is headed in your direction (even if it 50 metre away) you should be able push/bump your opponent.

If you can out muscle your direct opponent then you deserve to get the ball and they deserve to be pushed to the ground.
I agree entirely. I think these "new" marking contest interpretations hurt both forwards and defenders and is just another thing that is degrading our game. Spare us the rubbish about 5m and double movements. This takes out a form of contact that is reasonable and not at all dangerous. Just let the big boys push and shove. If they hold or have hands in the back its a free, otherwise reward the guy who gets to the right spot and can use that to his advantage.
 

Bob_vic

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The "5 metre rule" has never applied to marking or ruck contests. Those who have thought that over the years have always been wrong.

Read the rule in its contest: (This is the important part)

15.4.3 "Other than the Prohibited Contact identified under Law 15.4.5, a
Player may make contact with another Player:"

The prohibited contact is:

15.4.5"(d) pushes, bumps or blocks an opposition player who is in the act of Marking or attempting to Mark the football"

So, all the rule is saying is, you can push, bump or block within 5 metres of the ball (ie. in general play), but you cannot push, bump or block AT ALL in a marking contest, unless it is incidental to the marking contest and the Player is legitimately Marking or attempting to Mark the football. (A legitimate attempt to spoil is also, and always has been, interpreted as contesting "the mark".)

Finally, some of the commentators are learning...
 

Squizz

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Woud have liked this rule to be enforced when Jamie Charman broke Riewoldt's collarbone with a charge from front-on in a marking contest. Got two weeks for it, but no free was paid on the day. How 3 umpires can miss things like this is beyond me.
 

james_omahoney

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... A legitimate attempt to spoil is also, and always has been, interpreted as contesting "the mark".
This should be made more clear in the rules, perhaps as a footnote. For example:

* An attempt to spoil a mark is considered an attempt to mark in the context of this rule.

I question whether a long-standing interpretation makes the interpretation necessarily correct.

For example, pushing your opponent in the side in a one-on-one marking contest was never really interpreted as contact that was not incidental until this year. Long-standing interpretations can still be incorrect according to the rules. Perhaps a spoil is not actually inclusive of an attempt to mark, too?

If you think about it, what does a spoil really mean? It means that the player doesn't believe he is in a position to mark, and therefore attempts to prevent his opponent from marking. It's different to attempting to mark because it's more likely he hasn't earnt best or equal position. If prohibited contact is incidental in a true marking attempt, then fair enough. But if it's in a spoil attempt, and it does effect the spoil, then it perhaps is unfair to the player who would have otherwise marked it. Thoughts?

Btw, I don't necessarily think this. I'm also mindful of not taking too much contact away from the game. It's just a thought.
 

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Bob_vic

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This should be made more clear in the rules, perhaps as a footnote. For example:

* An attempt to spoil a mark is considered an attempt to mark in the context of this rule.

I question whether a long-standing interpretation makes the interpretation necessarily correct.

It is definitely correct, as taught at all levels of football and in AFL-written courses. It's long been known that it's not specifically in the rule book, but I think they leave it out to encourage players to mark the ball, rather than to spoil.

For example, pushing your opponent in the side in a one-on-one marking contest was never really interpreted as contact that was not incidental until this year. Long-standing interpretations can still be incorrect according to the rules. Perhaps a spoil is not actually inclusive of an attempt to mark, too?

This is wrong. I've seen VFL decision tapes from the 80s showing "push in the side" free kicks in marking contests being paid, as well as games from the 70s and 60s where is has also been paid, even more to a technical extent. Superior body strength isn't a push. A seperate action to push then another to mark has always been a free kick.

If you think about it, what does a spoil really mean? It means that the player doesn't believe he is in a position to mark, and therefore attempts to prevent his opponent from marking. It's different to attempting to mark because it's more likely he hasn't earnt best or equal position. If prohibited contact is incidental in a true marking attempt, then fair enough. But if it's in a spoil attempt, and it does effect the spoil, then it perhaps is unfair to the player who would have otherwise marked it. Thoughts?

You need to read the "spirit of the laws" in regards to marking contest, also issued by the AFL and intended to be read alongside the rule book. It talks about contesting the ball, rather than the attempt needing to be only to mark. A defender must be allowed the tactic to spoil.

"The player whose sole objective is to contest the ball shall be permitted to do so"

Where there is co-incidental interference (no infringement) when the ball is the sole objective (eyes on the ball) - play on.
When a player leaps (early), the attempt must be realistic (able to touch the ball).
The laws are to be interpreted to provide every opportunity for players who are legitimately attempting to contest the ball to do so.
____
 

james_omahoney

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Fair enough. I'm just playing devil's advocate here: in regards to the Spirit of the Laws, with respect to the marking contest; do you think that a Marking Contest (attempts to mark and spoil) is the same thing as "an attempt to mark"? I wonder whether the rulebook would have just used the term Marking Contest (in 15.4.5d) if that's what it meant.

15.4.5 (d) doesn't actually use the phrase Marking Contest (including spoils) - it states the other player must be in "the act of marking or attempting to mark". It also doesn't mention incidentality - that's only outlined in 15.4.5 (b).

In essence, only a push in the back is allowable if it's incidental to a marking contest - pushes (other than in the back), bumps, holds etc are not allowed, even if they're incidental to the said contest.

That would be a strict interpretation, I think - although I wouldn't personally call for it to be applied that way. I just reckon it needs to be clearer - actually have written what is taught.
 

Bob_vic

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Fair enough. I'm just playing devil's advocate here: in regards to the Spirit of the Laws, with respect to the marking contest; do you think that a Marking Contest (attempts to mark and spoil) is the same thing as "an attempt to mark"? I wonder whether the rulebook would have just used the term Marking Contest (in 15.4.5d) if that's what it meant.

15.4.5 (d) doesn't actually use the phrase Marking Contest (including spoils) - it states the other player must be in "the act of marking or attempting to mark". It also doesn't mention incidentality - that's only outlined in 15.4.5 (b).

In essence, only a push in the back is allowable if it's incidental to a marking contest - pushes (other than in the back), bumps, holds etc are not allowed, even if they're incidental to the said contest.

That would be a strict interpretation, I think - although I wouldn't personally call for it to be applied that way. I just reckon it needs to be clearer - actually have written what is taught.
a) No - Rowan Sawers is on the rules commitee and it also the AFL field umpires coach. Rowan has been around umpiring since the 70s. I think he should know... Go back and look at interpretations books from the 60s and 70s, freely available in university libraries. It's all there.

b) Go back to 15.4.3(e). It mentions it there. Yes, I agree that spoiling should be mentioned in the rule book. It's definitely written down in umpires manuals from the AFL. Like I said, perhaps done on purpose... I'll just mention that there's many things that aren't in the rule book. It should be used as a pointer to further information provided to umpires in courses. Otherwise, you would have a rule book that's 3 times as thick. Most people don't understand the rules as it is, than trying to explain things in greater detail. Once the interpretations are known, the context of the rules make more sense.

c) A push in the back in a marking contest is interpreted the same as any other push. You can only push/bump/block in the same action as contesting the mark, which is incidental contact. A push, then a seperate attempt to mark is not incidental contact. (Except for the "speccie" exception, which has always been technically against the written rule, but always intended to be paid as a mark.) Again, 15.4.3(e).

You've got to remember, there many laws of Victoria and Australia (including our constitution) that aren't completely written down also. It comes down to interpretation from judges, case by case. Also, it's also difficult to accurately describe some concepts of Aussie Rules in words. I think that's why it's left a bit ambiguous. These days, the AFL do release an interpretations DVD to the public. The AFL and ANFC (before 1994) have always had books, videos and films available to the public, if people could be bothered borrowing them from the library or buying them. These days, it's just so simple to look up the internet. The AFL/VFL actually weren't the "keepers" of the rules before 1994, the ANFC were. Personally, from what I can see of what the ANFC released, it's a lot better and written far better than what the AFL do now. The ANFC books had the rules comprehensively explained with drawings and live-action photos, then the actual rules again at the back. Maybe the AFL should think about doing this again...

As for hands-in-the-back, all this seems to go out the window. It's something only paid in the AFL and VFL, and isn't in the official rules or interpretations.

(For the younger ones, ANFC stands for Austalian National Football Council. They were the council that administered Aussie Rules Australia-wide and ran interstate carnivals, until the AFL decided to take over in 1994. From 1990-1993, the AFL did not have control of the rules of the game, and neither did the VFL before that, unless you go back to early last century. Although, the VFL probably did have a lot of power over the ANFC.)
 

james_omahoney

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a) No - Rowan Sawers is on the rules commitee and it also the AFL field umpires coach. Rowan has been around umpiring since the 70s. I think he should know... Go back and look at interpretations books from the 60s and 70s, freely available in university libraries. It's all there.

b) Go back to 15.4.3(e). It mentions it there.

But doesn't 15.4.3(e) say "other than" the contact that's allowable in 15.4.5? That means you can't do anything prohibited in 15.4.5, but other contact is allowable:

"if such contact is incidental to a marking contest and the Player is legitimately Marking or attempting to Mark the football.
"

Therefore the 'marking contest' allowable contact is not applicable to pushes, bumps, blocks or holds. If you could do these things then then it would read something like "prohibited contact is excepted if"... etc.

I think 15.4.3 and 15.4.5 are in the wrong order, actually. They are numbered in reverse.


Yes, I agree that spoiling should be mentioned in the rule book. It's definitely written down in umpires manuals from the AFL. Like I said, perhaps done on purpose... I'll just mention that there's many things that aren't in the rule book. It should be used as a pointer to further information provided to umpires in courses. Otherwise, you would have a rule book that's 3 times as thick. Most people don't understand the rules as it is, than trying to explain things in greater detail. Once the interpretations are known, the context of the rules make more sense.

Fair point. It's not really the length of the rule book, it's the way some of the rules are laid out which is confusing, particular given the word usage.

c) A push in the back in a marking contest is interpreted the same as any other push. You can only push/bump/block in the same action as contesting the mark, which is incidental contact. A push, then a seperate attempt to mark is not incidental contact. (Except for the "speccie" exception, which has always been technically against the written rule, but always intended to be paid as a mark.) Again, 15.4.3(e).

Kind of covered this in my first point for the same reason. 15.4.3(e) is for contact other than prohibited contact in 15.4.5, which includes all situations, including marking contests.

You've got to remember, there many laws of Victoria and Australia (including our constitution) that aren't completely written down also. It comes down to interpretation from judges, case by case. Also, it's also difficult to accurately describe some concepts of Aussie Rules in words. I think that's why it's left a bit ambiguous. These days, the AFL do release an interpretations DVD to the public. The AFL and ANFC (before 1994) have always had books, videos and films available to the public, if people could be bothered borrowing them from the library or buying them. These days, it's just so simple to look up the internet. The AFL/VFL actually weren't the "keepers" of the rules before 1994, the ANFC were. Personally, from what I can see of what the ANFC released, it's a lot better and written far better than what the AFL do now. The ANFC books had the rules comprehensively explained with drawings and live-action photos, then the actual rules again at the back. Maybe the AFL should think about doing this again...

Yeah I see what you mean. I still think the wording and ordering of the rule book could be cleaned up, because people still go back to it for reference and bigfooty arguments ;). Were the rules from the ANFC directly carried over to the AFL rules? I mean, are we reading the same words that were published from the beginning of the sport, or when was the last revision?

As for hands-in-the-back, all this seems to go out the window. It's something only paid in the AFL and VFL, and isn't in the official rules or interpretations.

I think hands-in-the-back is probably the correct application of the pushing rule, as any contact with the hand is basically an application of force against the back (no matter how arbitrary). Not saying it's necessarily good or bad for the game (I personally like it and think it's improved the game, but everyone has their own views), but it's technically a push if your hand falls on the back, as the pushing rule is part of the game and not just AFL.

(For the younger ones, ANFC stands for Austalian National Football Council. They were the council that administered Aussie Rules Australia-wide and ran interstate carnivals, until the AFL decided to take over in 1994. From 1990-1993, the AFL did not have control of the rules of the game, and neither did the VFL before that, unless you go back to early last century. Although, the VFL probably did have a lot of power over the ANFC.
That's pretty interesting. Where would you recommend going to find out more about early Aussie Rules administration and rules?
 

Bob_vic

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That's pretty interesting. Where would you recommend going to find out more about early Aussie Rules administration and rules?
University libraries have these old books. Anyone can walk in and read them. I found copies at Monash and RMIT. The AFL did a complete rewrite in 2000, so basically, this is still the 2000 code with alterations. The major thing that the AFL first introduced when they took over was having to dispose of the ball correctly where there was prior opportunity. Before that, a free kick where there was prior opportunity, was only paid if the ball was held to the player. As always, as it still is now, if the ball is not held to the player and there is NO prior opp, the player still must make an attempt to kick or handball the ball, except for the written exception, which have always been in the rules. (One arm slung, both arms pinned behind, etc) Basically, (no prior opp), if the player doesn't "hold onto the ball" and the ball spills out immediately, it's a "play on" call. (which is different to deliberately dropping the ball, which isn't an attempt to kick or handball)

As for the marking interference rules, I think you misread them.

The rules should be read to mean, in this context:

"You cannot push, bump or block in a marking contest, unless you interfere in the same action (incidental contact) as realistically (legitimately, eyes on the ball) attempting to mark or spoil the ball."

The marking rule from 15.4.5 should be read in the same context as 15.4.3(e). All it's telling you is the same thing. The rule tries to describe what is actually paid, rather than the wording of the rule dictacting what's paid, in this instance. They could rewrite the rule tomorrow, it still wouldn't change the practical application, unless they set out to change the practical application with the different wording of the rule.

A push has its normal meaning. There has to be some kind of obvious force (e.g. extending of the arms). Hands in the back technically force also, but no-one has regards it as a push. The AFL umpires use a different signal for hands in the back, because it's not the pushing rule we're talking about now. It's only a rule for the AFL/VFL.

There are many things that aren't in the rule book. For instance, if a player marks right on the boundary line and is kicking for goal from against the fence, the umpire will only allow him to go 10 metres back from the mark. The player isn't allowed to keep backing-back to open up the angle. Although more of a control measure, it probably should be in the rule book.
 

markr

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Reading these rules, it is clear that the screens that forwards provide for each other prior to a lead are entirely illegal.
Absolutely. In the same vein the way defenders hold their man while another defender drops in front to take an uncontested mark is illegal. But like forwards blocking, every team does it and it is never paid.
 

Bob_vic

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Absolutely. In the same vein the way defenders hold their man while another defender drops in front to take an uncontested mark is illegal. But like forwards blocking, every team does it and it is never paid.
These ones are always difficult to pay unless they are really blatant and obvious. There is a difference between "holding ground" and actually making an action of a block/shepherd. A "screen" is a grey word in this context. The word "screen" could be used to describe either "holding ground" or a block. Only a block/shepherd can be paid as a free kick. No-one wants to see "ticky-touch" free kicks either.
 
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I am new to following AFL and it is strange that there is so much uncertainity and grey areas. I see many things that seem unfair but find it hard to understand the rules when so many things don't seem to be seen by the Umps! This debate is good but clarity is hard to find!
 
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Absolutely. In the same vein the way defenders hold their man while another defender drops in front to take an uncontested mark is illegal. But like forwards blocking, every team does it and it is never paid.
What_the_
I am new to AFL...
This terminology 'is not paid' is interesting. Is this common AFL slang? Is there a book on AFL slang. I have to get greater clarity!!
I am annoyed when the player that seems to be offending my team 'does not get paid'!
It seems that the offences are often plain to see and sometimes uncertain but it would be good to see a team win on the merits of good play rather than on an ability for illegal play!
 

ConcreteWaters

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Squiggle is amazing at the moment- has Tigers winning the flag against the Lions, Pies dropping to 5th. Interesting times ahead.
 

Dacksaredown

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Looked like a free to me. Little bit the side and the back but definitely a free. Don’t know why umpires would apologise for this when don’t apologise for all the dodgy crap they’ve done in the past. It’s too late after it’s happened.
 

HairyO

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Looked like a free to me. Little bit the side and the back but definitely a free. Don’t know why umpires would apologise for this when don’t apologise for all the dodgy crap they’ve done in the past. It’s too late after it’s happened.
Players get grabbed and thrown to the ground and no free. It was an atrocious call.
 

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