Introduced from 2019.
There are a number of New Rule Changes and Interpretations that will impact significantly on the way the game is played and umpired from 2019, these are explained below:
Traditional Playing Positions at Centre Bounce
- Implementation of a traditional set up at centre bounces – Clubs must have six Players inside both 50-Metre arcs, with one Player required to be inside the Goal Square. Four Midfield Players are positioned inside the Centre Square with the Wingmen required to be placed somewhere along the Wing.
- The change is intended to reduce congestion and result in an opening up of the game.
- In matches where there are four boundary umpires tow will be positioned in the vicinity of the 50 metre arc to assist the field umpires in monitoring the Traditional Playing Positions in the 50 metre arc.
- A free kick will be paid to the opposing ruck man in the centre of the ground in the event of a player failing to move to their designated traditional playing position within a reasonable time. A 50 metre penalty will also be paid.
- In the case of a player breaking their line before the ball leaves the hands of the controlling field umpire a free kick will be paid to the opposing ruck man in the centre of the ground. No 50 metre penalty applies in this situation.
- Where a free kick is paid due to a break of line, the lines must be reset prior to the ruck man taking the free kick.
- Communication is the key! Umpires must encourage and request players to assume their traditional positions prior to the commencement of each quarter and when the ball is being relayed by the boundary umpire back to the centre after a goal has been scored.
- For kick-ins from a behind, a player will no longer need to kick to himself or herself to play on out of the goal square.
- Following a behind, the player on the mark will be positioned 10 metres from the top of the goal square (currently 5 metres). A 10 metre protection area applies (from point post to point post).
- The defending player at a kick in will be afforded a larger protected area and given additional options for recommencing play in a timely manner.
- The umpire will call play on immediately the player kicking in exits the goal square.
- The player is permitted to play on as soon as the goal umpire has signalled the score.
- A player cannot handball out of the square prior to play on being called. If the ball is handballed out of the square prior to play on being called, then a ball-up will take place on the middle of the goal line.
- Any opposition player in the protected area when the behind is scored must be actively exiting the area.
- If a defending player has been given reasonable time to kick in and fails to do so, the controlling umpire will call play on. Opposition players will be permitted to enter the protected area.
- Once play on has been called the defending player must kick or handball.
- A defending player who is behind the goal line only has to put a single foot within the square before they are permitted to play on.
Marks / Free Kicks: Deep in 50 Metre Arc
- For all defenders who take a mark or gain a free kick within 9 metres of their own goal, the player on the mark for the attacking team will be brought in line with the top of the goal square (previously the mark was 5 metres from the boundary line).
- The change is intended to open up the game and assist the player with the ball to move play down the ground.
- When the player with the mark or free kick moves beyond the 9 metre line play on is called.
- Stricter on the infringing player, allowing the player with the ball to advance the mark by 25 or 50 metres without the infringing player delaying the game.
- In addition, the player with the football will be able to play on during the advancement of the 25 or 50 metre penalty.
- The change is designed to prevent the infringing player from delaying the game in order to allow teammates to get into optimal position down field.
- Once the player has played on any opposition player can pressure. However, it is important that all defensive players are not caught within the protected area prior to the play on
- Umpires are instructed to advance the mark and clear the protected area in an expedient manner.
- If players are tardy or uncooperative in exiting the protected area, a further 25 metre penalty will be paid.
- Umpires need to be actively communicating with players in this situation.
- If the offending player is moving with the player who has been awarded the 25 or 50 metre penalty he or she must be exiting the protected area.
- If the player with the ball pushes or makes contact with the player moving to the amended mark, he or she loses the advantage of the penalty and the new mark will be at the spot where the contact/push occurred.
Kicking for Goal post-siren – Centre of Goal Line
- A player who has been awarded a mark or free kick once play has ended will now be able to Kick across their body using a snap or check-side kick.
- The player shall dispose of the football directly in line with the man on the mark and the goal.
- If the player goes over the line of the mark the umpire will call play on, the quarter will end and the shot at goal will not count.
- The player is advised to engage the umpire if they choose to have a shot at goal in this manner, to ensure they adhere to the rules.
- The hands in the back-rule interpretation to be repealed, allowing a player to place his or her hands on the back of his opponent to protect/hold his or her position in a marking contest but not to push the player in the back.
- If a player in front of the contest is under the ball this is not the opposing player’s fault and no free kick will be paid.
- If hands in the back prevents a player from contesting the ball, a free kick will be paid.
Ruck Contests – Prior Opportunity
- A ruck player who takes possession of the football while contesting a bounce or throw up by a field umpire or a boundary throw in by a boundary umpire, will not be regarded as having had prior opportunity.
- Ruck players in this situation will be afforded a reasonable time to legally dispose of the football.
- If possession is taken from a ruck contest and the ball is pinned, a ball-up will occur.
- Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the Umpire at each Centre Bounce.
- It is the responsibility of field umpires to inform players of the direction of their backing off following a ball up both in the centre and around the ground.
- Umpires should be aware of situations where players may try to use them as a shepherder.
Last Possession (Kick or Handball) Out of Bounds
This rule was introduced to reduce stoppage numbers (direct and repeat stoppages) with a view to spreading the game and reducing congestion.
The rule is defined as follows:
A Free Kick shall be awarded against a Player who:
6.19.1 Kicks (including kicking off the ground) or Handballs the football over the Boundary Line without the football being touched by another Player;
6.19.2 Except where a Player who does not have possession stops the football being touched by an Opposition Player by Shepherding the football across the Boundary Line where the football could have otherwise been touched.
- When the ball crosses the boundary line the Boundary Umpire is to blow his or her whistle and signal Out of Bounds or Touched Out of Bounds.
- Where there is any doubt the Field Umpire will instruct the Boundary Umpire to throw the ball in.
- It is imperative that the Field Umpire observes the football at all times.
- A Field Umpire may consult with the Boundary Umpire if he or she is unsure.
- When awarding a free kick under the Last Possession Rule signal is the same as Deliberate Out of Bounds.
This Regulation operates in conjunction with Rule 15.6 of the Laws of the Game