Rule changes are just one reason why the NAB Cup is seen as a mickey mouse competition, often fans are left angry and frustrated at these changes. Join us as we take the new rules for a road test.

Some of the rules, such as the super goal, are harmless and given that they remain in the preseason competition and are never seriously considered to be brought into the season proper. Other rules aren’t so harmless and often leave players and fans angry and frustrated.

In 2006 the AFL quietly changed the interpretation for the ‘hands in the back’ rule. It tended to sneak under the radar of most club officials and fans but was the major talking point throughout the preseason and most of the home and away season in 2007. With fans furious and frustrated over the rule and certain interpretations talk back radio stations were flooded with complaints. Yet the AFL persisted with the rule and whilst it still leaves fans, players and officials frustrated most have come to accept that the AFL are to arrogant to change their decision.

In 2009 the AFL have again experimented with a number of rules, 3 of which are being considered for an immediate introduction to the premiership season.

Deliberate rushed behinds

Rule: Free kick awarded from wherever the ball is rushed for all deliberate rushed behinds.
Goal: To discourage players from rushing a behind when not under pressure from the opposition.
Road Test: The purpose of the rule was achieved. Players were noticeably more conscious about conceding behinds.

Result: The rule achieved its goal perfectly, however it quickly became noticeable that the rule left gray patches between what is and isn’t a rushed behind. Umpires struggled to officiate the rule, some fairly obvious rushed behinds were missed by umpires while the few that were paid were often incorrect.
Final Verdict: THUMBS DOWN

Interference after disposal

Rule: Free kick and 50m penalty against players who tackle or hold an opponent after the opponent has disposed of the football.
Goal: To prevent players from being tackled or blocked after disposing of the ball to stop them from receiving the ball again or being able to run on to the next contest.
Road Test: The effect of this rule and what it set to achieve was fairly minimal.

Result: The rule didn’t really make it easier for players to run onto the next contest. If a player is tackled or held back from contesting the ball a free kick down field should be rewarded but a 50 metre penalty is to excessive.
Final Verdict: THUMBS DOWN

Centre bounce “No Go” zone

Rule: At centre bounces a no go zone is marked on the surface within which players are not allowed to position themselves when the umpire is bouncing or is backing away from a bounce. A free kick is awarded if players are in this zone at these times.
Goal: To reduce the number of player-umpire collisions.
Road Test: The effect of this rule and what it set to achieve was achieved.

Result: The rule worked. There were less collisions at centre bounces. The question needs to be asked before this rule is introduced is whether or not player-umpire collisions are frequent enough at centre bounces to warrant a change. There are far more ball-ups around the ground than there is in the centre circle so player-umpire collisions will still occur.
Final Verdict: THUMBS DOWN

Umpires can recall bad bounces

Rule: If an umpire badly bounces the ball in the centre they can recall the ball and throw it up.
Goal: To allow both ruckmen to contest the ball at every contest.
Road Test: This rule achieved its goal.

Result: The rule works. The bounce of the ball is a great aspect of our game but if one player is completely disadvantaged at a centre bounce it can change the result of a game as seen last season. The only problem is that it could reduce the momentum of a team if the ball is recalled.
Final Verdict: THUMBS UP

Kicks must travel 20m

Rule: A kick must travel at least 20 metres before it can be paid a mark.
Goal: To encourage players to kick longer.
Road Test: The goal of this rule was not achieved.

Result: Players frequently were asked to play on for not kicking it 20 metres. It appears harder for umpires judge how far kicks travel when the distance is extended to 20 metres. There is no need for this rule at all.
Final Verdict: THUMBS DOWN

No marks when kicking backwards

Rule: A mark is not rewarded when a player kicks the ball backwards to a teammate in the defensive half of the ground.
Goal: To stop players kicking backwards to waste time.
Road Test: The effect of this rule was minimal in the preseason competition.

Result: The rule had a minimal effect. It didn’t really stop players from kicking backwards when they had players in open space. The effect might be greater if introduced in the home and away season when teams are more concerned about conceding late goals. This rule is not being considered for immediate introduction into the 2009 season.
Final Verdict: THUMBS DOWN

Ball thrown up around the ground

Rule: Instead of umpires bouncing the ball at stoppages other than centre bounces it is now thrown up.
Goal: To allow both ruckmen to contest the ball at every ruck contest.
Road Test: This rule achieves its goal 100% of the time.

Result: The AFL got this one right, no one likes it when there ruckmen doesnt get a fair crack at the contest and this rule allows ruckmen to contest 1 on 1 every time.
Final Verdict: THUMBS UP

Interchange substitute system

Rule: Two (2) interchange players are designated as substitutes who can be used at any time and the players they replace cannot take any further part in the match.
Goal: To allow teams to bring fresh legs into the game and encounter injuries.
Road Test: The rule wasn’t very effective.

Result: This is a rule that should be kept in the preseason competition, but never considered in the season proper. Teams used this as a way to rest gun players and blood new recruits which is great. However should it be introduced into the home and away season it would be used in a completely different way. Not needed.
Final Verdict: THUMBS UP

surveyAFL Online encourages readers to take a minute or two to fill in a survey issued by the AFL that collects the feedback of supporters of the game that the AFL will use when completing their assessment of the rules. Click here to fill in the survey.