Matthew Lloyd is keeping a keen eye on how the AFL’s new ‘stand’ rule is being implemented during pre-season as he has heard that several teams are struggling to adapt.
As part of a raft of new rule changes for the 2021 season, players manning the mark will be called to ‘stand’ by umpires, meaning they’re unable to deviate from the mark, nor will another player be permitted to man the mark once the umpire has set it.
A 50-metre penalty will be paid for any breaches of the rule and Lloyd said the new interpretation for the upcoming season will be a “ferocious” one for the umpires to adjudicate in the opening rounds.
“I’ve heard some teams are really struggling with (the new stand rule),” he said on Sportsday.
“The umpires have been at up to 310 training sessions amongst clubs, I heard (Sydney coach) John Longmire say he hopes it’s not a 50-metre goal fest.
“A player at one club took one step, whistle goes and it’s a 50-metre penalty. I reckon the umpires are going to be ferocious on this rule early on.
“They say stand, you place once foot away (from the mark) and they were paying 50-metre penalties."
Gerard Healy said the key to the new rule being deemed a success was an increase in scoring, and that it won’t be a big problem in his eyes if more 50-metre penalties are paid in the opening rounds as players adjust.
“What (Steve) Hocking would be asking for would be better ball movement,” he said.
“The game is a better game when it goes from backline to forward line without going sideways. There’s nothing wrong with slow play, but if all you’ve got is slow play then it’s a boring game.
“If it means a few players initially give away a few 50-metre penalties, who cares about that.
“They will adapt and the umpires will adapt. Ultimately what you’re doing, and I think this is the key to this 50-metre penalty, is you’re not allowing someone like Tom Hawkins to stand on the mark from behind the bloke with the ball, so that releases another player to go into defence.
“What you’re saying is what’s in defence stays in defence, if we get quicker ball movement which leads to more goals then that’s surely a win.”