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Background All rule changes that have been introduced to the AFL have some impact. Some rule changes address the intended (perceived) issue. An example is the not having to wait for the goal umpire to signal a goal to kick out. It was introduced to keep the game moving and to make it less difficult to clear the defensive zone. And i think has been relatively successful in achieving these aims. Certainly offensive teams would rather a boundary throw in in the forward pocket than score a point. Another example of a rule change that addresses the intended issue has been the deliberate out of bounds rule adjustment where players have to make every attempt to keep it in. There are less kicks to the boundary line now wit the result that the ball stay in play more. Some rule changes have mixed results in terms of addressing the intended issue, outlawing the third man up rule being one example. And some rule changes don't address the intended issue at all. The below the knees rule is good example. It was introduced to reduce the risk of injury - specifically leg injuries- but i think you could mount a case it has increased risk as players are staging for it and the schmuck going for the ball gets bot in his head for his trouble. Think Angus Brayshw against the Hawks However, whether rule changes are effective, partly effective or ineffective there will always, to a greater or lesser degree, be unintended consequences of rule changes. For example with the change to deliberate team will sometime concede that free kick but try and kick 60 meters and then set up their defence. And players are getting better kicking 'for touch' and my feeling is players are more often spiking the ball over the lien as that (stupidly) doesn't get paid as deliberate. Often the unintended consequence is related to how it is governed - eg the stupidity of having to nominate ruck man - or how it is interpreted - eg deliberate or below the knees Discussion This year there are 9 rule changes. A big number by any measure. I'm curious what posters think the impact of the new rule changes will be on both the dees and the competition as a whole. On the latter point one thing i would like to get a handle on is the impact on scoring. One clear objective of the introduction of these rule is higher scoring. The strong trend to lower scores is a real worry for the AFL and these rules aim to address that trend Note: i'm not convinced by the rule changes. But my interest here is not whether they are good rule changes but what the impact will be. That said i understand much will depend on implementation and interpretation, so interested in views on that too as that will be factor in the success of the rule change. I have had a go at answering the question of impact and potential implementation and interpretation issues for the first rule change - and keen on other's views (for that rule change and the others). At some point i'll come back to the others and edit this post to include my thoughts (have run out of time atm) Note: i understand this is obviously a hypothetical exercise and we won't really know the impact until the end of the season. So guesses are just that and the impacts are all by definition potential impacts. The changes 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. Impact on competition: will create an even greater reward and therefore incentive to get center clearances and quick forward entries Will stop teams putting a spare behind the ball at centre bounces (though the 'wingman' will be able to roll back easily enough) - but obviously this will still occur in play Will the above put an emphasis on good one on on defenders such as McGovern? The teams with the best midfields will be even further advantaged Will help the best tap ruck man - Gawn, Grundy, Martin Might marginally take away some advantage of skilled intercept players like rance (in so far as teams can't have spare at centre bounces) Might we see the return of the specialized wingman? Likely to be some defensive and offensive innovations in terms of set ups and structure at center bounces Will the 'wingers' set just outside the 50 metre arc and fold back in as n extra defender? Impact on dees: We are already the highest scoring team - we will be harder to stop now Will stop Goody running two extra defenders off the HB (which he was doing less of anyway) Suits our contested ball winning midfield beasts We have the best tap ruck man - Gawn Might create some opportunity for Hunt, KK, Fritter and Stretch to play as specialized wingman May might be helped by 6 v 6 at centre bounce set up given his strength Potential implementation and interpretation issues: It might be easier said then done to determine if bot tams have their sick inside the arc if they start pushing right up the line Centre clearances straight from the ball up don't happen all that often so it may not have the impact the league is hoping for in terms of stopping teams putting players behind the ball Kick-ins At kick-ins, a player will no longer need to kick to himself to play on from the goal square. Following a behind, the man on the mark will be brought out to 10m from the top of the goal square, rather than the existing five metres. Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues : 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 Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues : Team runners may only enter the playing surface after a goal has been kicked and must exit before play restarts. Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues : Water carriers are not permitted to enter the playing surface during live play. Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues : Umpire contact Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the umpire at centre bounces. Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues : 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 Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues : 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. Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues : 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. Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues : 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. Impact on competition: Impact on dees: Potential implementation and interpretation issues :