Blues fans, the pre-season hit-outs are about to begin and there’s a few rule changes to be aware of.
With the JLT Community Series kicking off on Thursday 16 February, the AFL has confirmed the amendments to various laws/interpretations that will apply from the beginning of the series and into the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
The changes made concern high tackles, the protected area, deliberate rushed behinds and designated rucks and were approved by the AFL Commission during the off-season.
The first rule for fans to familiarise themselves with is the introduction of the ‘third man up’ ban - introduced to ensure only designated ruckmen contest the ball within the ruck or boundary throw-in.
Players who are not the designated ruckmen will concede a free kick if they contest the ball before it hits the ground and play-on is called.
The rule concerning the protected area has been defined to allow players who enter that space the opportunity to leave without being penalised.
Umpires will afford players a 50m penalty if they are caught in the protected area and fail to demonstrate an intention to immediately leave.
Play-on will also be called and players will avoid penalty, if high contact is incurred during a tackle which has reasonably been applied.
Deliberately rushed behinds will be paid where a player rushed a behind from beyond the goalsquare, had time and space to dispose of the ball, was not considered under immediate physical pressure, or if a player in a ruck contest hit the ball on the full over the line.
For the opening two rounds of the JLT Series, the AFL will also trial a different penalty for deliberately rushed behinds. Under the new penalty, a point will be awarded and the ball then thrown-up five metres in front of the goalsquare.
It is not intended for the penalty to apply during the 2017 premiership season, where instead, a free kick for goal will be awarded.
AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans said the trial rule would only continue in the season proper if it proved a success during the JLT Community Series and a change was desired among the clubs.
“There are no plans to implement this amendment for the 2017 season, unless it was deemed a success and there was very strong support from clubs to do so.” Evans said.
Carlton takes on Melbourne at Casey Fields on Saturday 25 February for the first of its three JLT Community Series matches.