Written by Polly form FootyTalk.com.au

A much-lamented aspect of our great game is the art of goal kicking, universally recognised as the only part of the game that hasn’t improved over the past 40 years (though plenty would suggest that umpiring may also fit that criteria). Watching Travis Cloke shank a set shot from 15 metres out on the weekend only confirmed for me what I already believed – we let players off the hook by providing a reward (1 point) for failing to achieve their objective. This article raises the question of why we need points and proposes a new system to replace them.

Points appear to serve three purposes in our game – to facilitate kick-ins which have become an attacking part of football; to allow weak defenders a soft option to aviod a goal; and to help prevent the drawn matches that plague soccer. These issues are addressed and resolved with the system outlined here.

I propose that we remove behind posts altogether, and that the only way for a score to occur is for the ball to go between the set of goal posts. All goals remain worth 6 points and any balls that go through last touched by an opposition player register a rushed behind. A ball coming off the post and returning to play is deemed live, or if it goes through it counts as a goal. The goal square is removed completely and replaced by a 10m circle, similar to the 50m arc. Any ball that goes over the boundry on the full within the 10m arc, except obviously through the goals, can be brought back into play anywhere within the arc, more akin to the ball returning to play in a billiards game.

In this system players receive no reward for a kick that does not achieve its objective. This may put pressure on players to improve their goal kicking accuracy or at least will not give them an undeserved score for a poor kick.

The 10m arc retains the attacking aspects of the current goal square kickout but increases the creativity afforded to the defender and further increases the opportunites for them to punish the opposition error through a score for themselves.

This system will also make any defender’s decision to rush a behind of critical importance and hopefully stamp out the blight on the game. With fewer points occuring these rush behinds become like golden eggs that may be the only thing separating the teams when the siren sounds. Interestingly, it is worth noting that of the 88 games to date this year only 7 have finshed with the two teams on the same number of goals.

Overall this system may be seen as tinkering with the games for no real benefit. I understand this perspective, but this proposed system serves the benefit of making all defenders think twice about rushing behinds; adds a new attacking dimension to bringing the ball back into play; and offers players rewards only when they achieve what they set out to do, not when they get close. I just don’t think that there is a downside � unless of course you’re Travis Cloke.<