The AFL’s new stand rule is designed to make life difficult for players like Brisbane’s All-Australian defender Harris Andrews.
- Umpires have been told players cannot move when standing on the mark, a rule designed to open up more of the field
- Fans were outraged after a 50 metre penalty was paid when Fremantle’s Brennan Cox was judged to have moved off the mark in a practice game
- All-Australian defender Harris Andrews said it has opened up the game and will allow more goals to be kicked
But the fullback, despite admitting he now feels a “little bit helpless” when standing on the mark, is fine with that and expects it’s here to stay after AFL boss Gillon McLachlan called for patience from disgruntled fans.
Fears over the possible implications of the new rule — which prohibits the player on the mark from moving in any direction — were heightened over the weekend when footage of a 50m penalty paid against Fremantle’s Brennan Cox gained traction.
The defender’s head was down as he took a couple of steps away from Oscar Allen as the West Coast forward went back to line up a shot at goal.
The umpire spotted Cox’s infringement and the ensuing penalty gifted Allen a goal from point-blank range.
Fans piled on as the footage circulated, but no more than two penalties were paid in any practice game and Andrews said his side had already switched their focus to exploiting the new parameters.
“When the umpire calls stand you’re not allowed to move; it’s pretty simple I would’ve thought,” he said.
“There’s ways to look into it and gain more 50m penalties, guys who are quick on their feet can [exploit it] and it impacts the way you defend.
“You feel a little bit helpless because usually you’re dancing, carrying on over the mark to put them off.
“But it’s opened up the game and that’s what the AFL and fans want, to see goals kicked.”
McLachlan played down the impact of the new law.
“All change is challenging for people, but universally our supporters, players, clubs want more open football.
“I think it was 2,000 opportunities for an infringement and seven or eight 50s [penalties].
“We’ll always listen but I think we need to be a bit patient on this one because it’s gone through a process, it’s there in its best intentions and we had teams scoring over 120 points for the first time in a long time.”
The AFL’s head of football, Steve Hocking, told the Herald Sun that he was “very, very happy” with the players reaction to the rule, but added that if “subtle adjustments” are required, those would occur over the coming weeks.
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