Please, NO dogs are allowed at the grounds at any time during game day.
The AFL Commission have approved the following three changes to the Laws of the Game for the 2013 Premiership Season:
Forceful Contact Below the Knees – A free kick will now be awarded against any player under existing Law 15.4.5 a (ii) Prohibited Contact, who makes forceful contact below the knees of an opponent (this does not apply to smothers with the hands or arms).
Throwing the Ball Up – The bounce will continue to be used at the start of each quarter, and after goals, but umpires will now throw the ball up for all field stoppages during the game.
Ruckmen At Stoppages - Separation of ruckmen at stoppages, with no contact permitted until the ball has left the umpire's hand.
The Commission have also approved in principle a recommendation to impose a cap on interchange rotations, but determined that a review of further data and analysis was required, including a trial in the 2013 NAB Cup. The proposal will then be revisited by the Commission at the end of next season. As a result, interchange arrangements will remain unchanged for the 2013 season.
As part of the annual Laws review process, the AFL have met with club coaching staff, player leadership groups, the AFL Players Association, the AFL Coaches Association, the AFL Medical Officers Association, the AFL Physiotherapists Association, the AFL Sports Science Association, state and community football bodies and AFL umpires.
These changes are primarily designed to protect players from injury and help reduce congestion. The AFL’s long-term commitment to player welfare is illustrated by other significant changes to protect player safety in recent years such as the Head Over the Ball Rule, The Ruck Rule to Protect Players Against PCL Injuries and the rules relating to sling tackles, sliding knees or feet first, plus bumping and head-high contact.
The free kick for forceful contact below the knees is designed to protect players from serious lower limb injuries such as broken legs, ankles and knee ACL injuries. Clubs have adapted well to the free kick for sliding knees or feet first, and this has been extended to protect players from any forceful contact below the knees. Aside from the injury prevention benefit, this change is also designed to encourage players to keep their feet and assist in reducing congestion.
The change to throw the ball up around the ground at stoppages has been introduced to help alleviate congestion by enabling play to be re-started more quickly, as well as providing umpires with greater visibility to detect infringements. This proposal was put forward and supported by many players and coaches during the consultation process.
The recommendation regarding the separation of rucks was motivated by a desire to ensure that both ruckmen should have the opportunity to jump unimpeded at a ruck contest with the objective of hitting the ball to their teammate. It is aimed at encouraging the rucks to play the ball and not the man, facilitate cleaner hitouts to advantage and assist clearance rates.
The following rule interpretations have also been tightened to help alleviate congestion, plus encourage quick ball movement and genuine marking contests:
Stricter enforcement of protected area around the player with the ball – a) if in protected area, opposition player must remain passive and b) can only enter protected area if within two metres of opponent (amended from five metres);
Protect ball player by awarding free kick for ‘in the back’ or ‘high contact’ against player who sits or lies on top of tackled player (having an arm across is permitted);
Stricter interpretation of holding the ball where player is tackled but doesn’t make a genuine attempt to kick or handball (including throwing/dropping/placing the ball);
Free kick against a player for dragging or pushing the ball back under their opponent (as per previous NAB Cup trials);
Paying free kicks for blocking infringements interfering with marking contests and umpires to review their positioning to achieve a better balance between detecting infringements at stoppages and infringements occurring within the end zones;
Reduce time allowed for kick ins to 5-6 seconds (from when flags are waved) to be consistent with kicks around the ground.
The Commission, as part of its overall Laws review, also discussed the in-game management and treatment of players suspected of suffering concussion. It was agreed that further work would be undertaken, including consultation with the AFL Medical Officers Association, to determine how best to manage this issue in the best interests of players.
All approved rule/interpretation changes for the 2013 Premiership Season will also be trialled in the 2013 NAB Cup. Attached is a document which further explains the process, background, rationale and operation of these changes.