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 AFL.com.au
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.
• Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the umpire at centre bounces.
• 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.
• The 'hands in the back’ rule interpretation has been repealed so a player can now: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.