FCN FOCUS: AFLW – New Rules for 2019
Head of Women’s Football at the AFL, Nicole Livingstone spoke with Brig and Bill about the changes we will see in the upcoming 2019 AFLW season.
The 2019 AFLW will see the introduction of North Melbourne and Geelong into the competition as well as a two-table conference fixture. This season has also seen the first AFLW draft with Nina Morrison being drafted to Geelong as the number 1 pick
‘We have seven home and away (games) this year and we have a final series with 10 teams in the competition’ said Ms. Livingstone, ‘when we don’t have every team playing each other at least once, we believe that a conference system is the fairest.’
Ms. Livingstone spoke about what the first AFLW draft means for the progression of the game and believes that we will see an immediate increase in the quality of players.
NEW RULES FOR 2019
On The Clock
These games are going to be short, sharp and action packed. The quarters will run for 15mins apiece. Time on will be called in the last two minutes of each quarter for all stoppages (probably 20mins all up). When you add in the quarter, half time and three-quarter time breaks, the whole match will be done and dusted in 2hrs.
On The Ground
Each team will field 16 a side with most of the players in favour of the change. With a few less out there the game seems to flow better. And fans always love to see the ball moving, efficient scoring and spectacular marks!
On The Bench
Five players cooling the bench (and keeping cool) plus two emergencies helps keep the players safer from dangerous heat stress and to keep physical injuries down. As a bonus this keeps almost the whole team in the thick of the action on the day (which is great for everyone).
With the women performing at capacity out there in pretty warm conditions across February and March there are uncapped rotations so players are able to grab needed bench time to cool down and recover.
It might be hard for the fans to pick it, but the ball is a little smaller with the Sherrin at a size 4. Scientific analysis showed it suited the female bodies better and as a bonus their kicks can fly further too.
Out of Bound / Rushed Behinds
At this level the players must aim to keep the ball in play, so a free kick will be given against a player who Kicks or Handballs the footy over the Boundary Line without it being touched by another Player. The only time this rule doesn’t apply is if a player who isn’t holding the ball stops someone touching the ball before it goes out.
Bye Bye Bounce
The traditional bounce is bounced with umpires throwing up the smaller ball instead from centre square and for ball ups.
AFLW: A look at new rules for 2019
The AFLW will take on 8 of the 9 new rules introduced in the AFL in 2019. Because it’s summer footy, we’re not adopting restrictions to runners and water carriers entering the field.
Centre Bounce 5, 6, 5
At centre bounces you’ll have 5 players inside both 50m arcs – one of those is required to be in the goal square. In the centre square, there’ll be 4 midfield players, and the wingers will be somewhere along the wing. *Good to note that it’s still being referred to as a centre bounce even though, technically, it will now be a throw.
After a behind, a player no longer needs to ‘kick-in’ to herself to play on out of the goal square. And, the player on the mark will move 10m away from the top of the goal square – this used to be 5m.
Marks / Free Kicks
If a defender takes a mark, or gets a free kick, within 9 metres of their own goal, then the player on the mark in the attacking team will be brought in line with the top of the goal square.
To protect the umpire, free kicks may be paid against players who make contact with the umpire at centre bounces and throw ups.
50 Metre Penatly
Makes for a faster game – the player with the ball can advance the mark by 50 metres immediately without having to wait for the umpire to do it and then re-start play. The player on the mark can’t get in the way, or delay play, or another 50 metre penalty will be paid.
Kicking For Goal Post Siren – Centre Of Goal Line
Quarter-time, half-time, full-time – when play ends, if there’s a player who’s taken a mark or been awarded a free kick they can now kick across their body using a snap or check-side kick. They still need to end up in the same place, in line with the player-on-the-mark and the goal, but can start where they like.
The ‘Hands in the Back’ rule interpretation has been repealed. A player can hold her ground by placing her hands on the back of her opponent in a marking contest. But, she can’t push the player in the back.
Ruck Contests- Prior Opportunity
A ruck player who takes possession when contesting a bounce, throw-up, or boundary throw-in, will not be regarded as having had prior opportunity. And, if there’s uncertainty over who the designated ruck is, the ruck for each team will continue to nominate to the field umpire.
RULES INTRODUCED SPECIFIC TO AFLW
Boundary Thrown Ins
Boundary throw-ins will now happen 10 metres inside the boundary line to land approximately 25 metres into the field of play and create more space for players.
Last Disposal Between The Arcs
In 2019, the ‘Last Disposal’ rule will apply only in the middle of the ground, between the 50 metre arcs. If a team kicks or handballs the ball out of play from this part of the ground, the other team gets a free kick.