Push In The Back – My Suggestion

The problem with the current rule is that it is nearly impoessible for an umpire to interpret the difference between a push in the back and someone trying to stand their ground and hold the player in front at bay. To say that the player in the rear can use his forearm is ridiculous, all this will do is reduce the amount of marks taken in a game, to be quite frank, that is already overumpired and ugly !!! More time on the ground scurrying after the ball – no thanks!

My suggested improvement is as follows – If the player in front that is alledgedly being infringed upon is in a forward motion then the rule should be enforced – This is what the rule is for, the player first to the ball should not be disadvantaged by a nudge in the back to get him out of the way. Now, this rule should be restricted to a push by hand or forearm only. Body on body contact should be considered incidental and not penalised.

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If the player

in front stops, props or tries to push back against the player behind him, then he loses all rights relating to the in the back rule.

I can see issues already with Matthew Lloyd diving forward but this has been a problem for years and will remain a problem when it is left to human interpretation.

Interested to hear anyone elses thoughts on this subject or a better way to interpret the rule because quite clearly, it isn’t cheap viagra working in its current form!

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AFL Rules – My Letter to the AFL

Our game is almost in state of disrepair. Our rules are without question the worst of any sport going around in the world. I am a proud and paid up RFC member however I thank god that Melbourne Victory and Storm have emerged because I get no satisfaction watching the poor excuse that has become AFL and it’s rules.

For years I have blamed umpires and have left games incensed imaging how satisfying it would be to hurt the umpires but as I’ve aged I’ve come to the realisation that it is not their fault 80% of the time. They have been forced to employ ridiculous and ambiguous rules that most of the time make no sense whatsoever. 99% of the time at any given match, when an umpire blows his whistle I’m forced to look his way in anticipation that maybe he’s picked something out that goes our way because god knows, there is no way of identifying the real free kick.

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I also find myself watching body on body incidents, which make up 80% of the game and each time contact is made, no matter how small, I find myself looking towards the umpire in prayer that he will not once again blow his whistle and pay another ridiculous, indecipherable free kick!

I watched the Richmond v West Coast game recently and saw some of the most frustrating umpiring in the AFL. I then read Jeff Gieschen’s review stating that they didn’t get it that wrong, only 5 decisions were questionable… The problem wasn’t with the decisions that were made, it was with the ones that weren’t!!! This entire incident was just a clear indication of the AFL and Umpires complete disconnect with the game. You can’t imagine the frustration that this brings to the general public, myself included.

I implore you to review the rules immediately as I can no longer put myself through the torture that is an AFL game. I miss the days of old, just being able to support my team.
The rules that need refinement are as follows:

Holding the ball – this is the most ambiguous rule going around and it is also the most frustrating, especially “dragging it in?. Nine out of ten times a player will get the ball, whilst on the ground and then be pinned by an opposition player giving him no possible way of disposing of the ball. This should not be a free kick. The opposition player is the one delaying play by locking the player and ball down, why should the play maker be penalised for this?

Another extremely appalling interpretation of this rule comes from the definition of prior opportunity. If a player grabs the ball and is under immediate pressure and tries to run his lines and break a tackle, he is penalised for trying to break the tackle, apparently this relinquishes any claim to prior opportunity! How I’ll never know… If that same player stops in his footsteps and is tackled, a ball up is called due to lack of prior opportunity!!! This rule paints the unimaginable picture of; try to create play and you’ll be penalised, stop and give up, and we’ll let you off! How can the AFL knowingly enforce this rule???

In the back – I still can’t feasibly understand the purpose of this rule. I think that the rule should be applicable if moving towards a boundary fence or if a player is “dangerously? pushed in the back directly into other players but in general play, what is the point of it??? This new interpretation of the rule is nothing more that pure torture… watching the umpires employ this rule just leaves me sitting emotionless thinking, this is what our game has come to now, getting frustrated only pains me, no-one else, especially when I watch a player protect himself from someone backing into him and is penalised for it!!! You have got to be kidding!

If a player is chasing another player from behind, the natural force of inertia always forces both players forward and 9 times out of 10 ends up in an in the back decision. How can you tackle someone in this manner without giving away a free kick? You can’t because once again, our rules are the most comedic of any sport or code going around.

Rethink this rule, there is little to no logic in having it, you are legally allowed to push some in the side but not the back? Remove it completely and replace it with a rough or dangerous play rule. It serves absolutely no purpose in protecting players.

Head high – I watched a disgraceful decision in the VFL in the Geelong v Casey game where a player (1), running back with the flight attempted to get a hand on the ball, all the time, eyes up watching the ball. A guy leading out (2), doing the same thing ended up running into him and falling down. Player 1 had his arm in the air attempting to get a hand on the ball and player 2’s head hit his arm on the way through. Free kick head high!!! I agree the head is sacrosanct however it should not be the sole responsibility of the opposing player to ensure safety. Responsibility should be shared between the two. Player 2 has the same duty of care going into that contest and therefore the decision should have been play on.

Players are now onto this rule and now simply duck towards the player in anticipation of getting touched head high and it is starting to pay off because the umpires are trigger happy and immediately blow the whistle in any head high encounter.

This rule needs to be scrapped and replaced with a dangerous clause where the player recklessly or intentionally causes harm. Accidental inconsequential contact should not be penalised as the infringed player should have some responsibility in the incident. Use Gaspar’s incident on Lynch as the perfect example, Gaspar, eyes on the ball, was charged by Lynch to put him off balance and get a better position. In this exchange, Gaspar’s hand flung up in a natural balance gaining manner and Lynch’s face ran straight into his hand. Lynch’s free kick!!! The exchange was accidental, inconsequential contact and it was completely and utterly caused by the infringed player. This is the prime example of the poor execution of this rule and should be the catalyst for the rule’s revision or replacement.

I hope that this letter is read as it is intended which is a plea for help for my once much loved game. I can barely bring myself to

go anymore and as I said no prescription amoxicillin earlier, thank god for Melbourne Victory and Storm as it at least gives me some sport to watch in these times where our game is nothing short of a train wreck.

=== Footnote ===
I have sent this to Andrew Demetriou ([email protected]), Andrian Anderson ([email protected]), Kevin Bartlett ([email protected]), Morning Glory @ SEN ([email protected]), Mike Sheehan ([email protected]), Herald Sun ([email protected]), The Age ([email protected]), Umpires Association ([email protected]), Sams Mailbag ([email protected]) 4 times now and still no response…
Please help and support me by sending through your thoughts and feedback to all of these people – maybe we will finally be heard!

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