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Nine new AFL rule changes announced for 2019 season


The AFL has today announced nine new rule changes for the 2019 AFL season.

The immediate standout is the scrapping of the hands in the back rule – a staple of the game for a long time.

A push in the back will remain a free kick, but the placing of hands on the back will no longer result in a free.

While we will not see an 18 metre goal square, the player on the mark after a behind will be placed five metres further back.

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Players can now run through the goal square and take off without having to kick the ball to themselves. They can also now handball the ball out from a behind.

The much-touted 6-6-6 set-up at centre bounces has been approved. This means all clubs must have six players in each area of the ground after a goal.

Read the AFL’s full breakdown of the new rule changes below, as per

Traditional playing positions at centre bounces

• Clubs must have six players inside both 50m arcs, with one player inside the goalsquare.

• Four midfield players must start inside the centre square with the two wingmen stationed along the wing.


• At kick-ins, a player will no longer need to kick to himself to play on from the goalsquare.

• Following a behind, the man on the mark will be brought out to 10m from the top of the goalsquare, rather than the existing five metres.

Marks and free kicks in defence

• When defenders mark or receive a free kick within nine metres of their own goal, the man on the mark will be brought in line with the top of the goalsquare.

Runners and water carriers

• Team runners may only enter the playing surface after a goal has been kicked and must exit before play restarts.

• Water carriers are not permitted to enter the playing surface during live play.

Umpire contact

• Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the umpire at centre bounces.

50m penalties

• The player with the ball:

• Must be allowed to advance the mark by 50m without the infringing player delaying the game.

• Will be able to play on while the 50m penalty is being measured out.

Kicking for goal after the siren

• 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

• BUT must kick the ball directly in line with the man on the mark and the goal.

Marking contests

• The 'hands in the back’ rule interpretation has been repealed so a player can now:

• Place his hands on the back of his opponent to protect his position in a marking contest

• PROVIDED he does not push his opponent in the back.

Ruck contests: prior opportunity

• A ruckman who takes direct possession of the ball from a bounce, throw-up or boundary throw-in will no longer be regarded as having had prior opportunity.

• Where there is uncertainty over who is the designated ruckman, the ruckman for each team will still be required to nominate to the field umpire.

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