'Third man up' rule tweaked ahead of round one
Nat Edwards March 17, 2017 3:18 PM
THE AFL has tweaked its new 'third man up' rule to ensure a passive player hit by a throw-in at a stoppage will not be penalised.
A memo, seen by AFL.com.au, was sent to all AFL clubs on Friday morning from new AFL football operations boss Simon Lethlean, to inform them of the modification.
From round one, umpires are instructed to call play on "if the ball strikes the non-designated ruck, who is passive and has no intention to contest or impact the ruck contest".
The League's new ruck rule, designed to ban the third man up at ruck contests, came under fire during the pre-season when Adelaide's Dean Gore had a free kick paid against him after he was struck in the back by a boundary throw-in that fell short of the two nominated ruckmen.
Crows coach Don Pyke told reporters during a media briefing in Adelaide on Friday he was pleased with the change to the rule.
"That makes sense," Pyke said.
"If guys are standing around the stoppage minding their own business and going about being a midfielder and the ball hits them, play on.
"The other challenge we'll face is if the ball gets thrown in and it lands short.
"I think the umpires will use their discretion, but the rule, as I understand it, is if you contest the ball before it hits the ground, it's a free kick as well.
"I'd argue players will instinctively go, it's going to land here, the ruckman are here, I'm going to have to wait for the ball to bounce.
"Hopefully they will throw it in again."
Under the rule at the time, Gore was penalised as he was not the designated ruckman at that contest.
The League canvassed club coaches after the Gore incident, and subsequently decided to alter the law.
The clubs were also asked for feedback on the stricter interpretation of the deliberate rushed behind rule, as well as the trial of a more lenient penalty.
During the first three weeks of the JLT Community Series, the punishment for a deliberate rushed behind was a ball-up 14 metres out from goal, rather than a free kick from the goal line.
After surveying the 18 clubs and analysing the results, the League decided the penalty for a deliberate rushed behind would remain a free kick from the goal line, as was the case last year.
The stricter interpretation as outlined to clubs ahead of the JLT Community Series, will also remain, meaning players who try to rush a behind from "outside of the top of the kick-off line (nine metres) and its extension to the behind post", will be penalised.