‘Leave the game alone’: Fans explode over latest AFL rules adjustments

AFL fans have taken to social media to express their frustration that the league made three rule adjustments ahead of the 2023 season.

Under the changes, a 50-yard penalty will not be paid if a player fakes a handball to pull his opponent off his position when holding the mark.

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Another rule change is that players will only get a single time warning if they complete a set shot after 25 seconds (indicating they only have 5 seconds left). Previously, they also received one after 15 seconds.

Finally, players now have to make a decision immediately if they are penalized for conceding a free kick or losing a marking contest when the 5m protection zone is at stake. You can either hold the mark or leave the zone, but you must do so immediately.

The league says the goal is to “simplify play for the office, minimize delays and reduce player exploitation of the rules,” but not everyone agrees with the approach.

Referee Chris Donlon points out Collingwood star Jack Ginnivan during an AFL game in 2022. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL photos via Getty Images

In response to the AFL’s post about the rule changes, a fan asked the league, “Stop. To change. The. Damn it. Rules,” agreed another, saying, “Only pro sport in the world that does.”

“The amount of rule launches, changes and tweaks each year is overwhelming. No other sport in the world does this every year. Just leave the game alone,” said another.

Some sympathized with the umpires, saying, “No wonder umpires struggle when the rulebook changes every year”, another agreed, “Good luck trying to be an umpire when the rules change every year.”

One Twitter user suggested: “Why don’t we just let the rules simmer for a few seasons before changing them? Might help players get used to it instead of having to change their game for one rule before having to change it all over again 12 months later for another rule…”

Many echoed the same message, urging the AFL to simply “leave the game alone.”

The AFL is known for tweaking the rules before the start of a season to streamline play and has already made a change to the backup medical rule for this year.

Clubs will now nominate a substitute in addition to the four players on the bench, which they can activate at any time in the game regardless of injury.

The AFL introduced the Medi-Sub rule ahead of the 2021 season to help clubs if a player was injured during a game. If a player could no longer participate in the game, clubs could activate their medi-sub and they would not lose a rotation or effectively go out of body.

But the rule was quickly exploited by coaches who eliminated an underperforming player and replaced that player with their sub under the guise of injury. Some subs were simply injected into games to add fresh legs or replace a big player when conditions weren’t right.

Victoria Azarenka lashes out at journalists.

Victoria Azarenka lashes out at journalists.

https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/leave-the-game-alone-fans-blow-up-over-latest-afl-rule-tweaks-c-9573237 ‘Leave the game alone’: Fans explode over latest AFL rules adjustments

James Brien

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