The AFL has moved to crack down on players attempting to draw 50m penalties from handball fakes in a bid to reduce “exploitation” tactics in season 2023.
Throughout last season, players could fake a handpass in a bid to move their opponent off the mark and, should they succeed, draw themselves a 50-metre penalty.
But the AFL has confirmed that penalty will “no longer apply” when the act occurs in season 2023.
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“Instead, when this occurs, the mark and stand will be reset. Please note that if the player ‘faking’ a handball steps off their line, umpires will call ‘play-on’,” the AFL said in a statement issued to all clubs.
But former AFL champion Mick McGuane is concerned umpires will now have to guess whether a player is faking a handball as part of the rule tweak.
“Oh No, no, no….. Now we are asking the umpires to determine if a player is faking handballs vs an option that may be there but decided to change his mind,” McGuane posted on Twitter.
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Former AFL umpire Matt Head also said it was just “rules on rules” and “not the way to fix the problem”.
The decision to crack down on the handball fakes is one of three adjustments made after a review of 2022 and feedback sought from various stakeholders.
The AFL has also refined the ‘stand’ rule, whereby players who elect to enter the protected marking zone will not be able to then retreat.
“An opposition player cannot run toward the mark (and enter the protected area) and then elect to change their mind and retreat outside of the protected 5m area,” the AFL said.
“Similarly, an opposition player cannot elect to leave the protected area and then change their intent and choose to come and stand the mark.
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“Further all other players from the opposing team must be positioned behind the mark or otherwise outside the protected area.”
The third rule adjustment will ensure players are not given two time warnings for shots on goal – rather just a 25-second warning will be applied.
“It is expected that players are aware they have 30 seconds to commence their run up and hence will be provided with a reminder at 25 seconds only,” the AFL said.
The “minor interpretation adjustments” have been implemented in the hope of making the game easier to officiate and minimise “unnecessary game delay”.
Story Credit: foxsports.com.au