Legend takes a stand on rule
FOOTY legend Kevin Bartlett has urged the AFL to scrap the contentious “stand” rule, declaring it an “embarrassing” blight on the game.
The Tigers great said a raft of recent rule changes aimed at reversing plummeting scoring rates had failed miserably, and should all be binned.
Bartlett also says interchange rotations should be slashed from 75 to 25 if the AFL wants to have a more appealing game for the fans in 2022.
“We have made a lot of changes to the game in the last few years … and I can’t think of one of them that has made any significant difference to scoring,” Bartlett told the Herald Sun.
Bartlett’s biggest bugbear is the “stand” rule, which he says is contrary to the spirit of the game.
“The ‘stand’ rule is an embarrassment to the game because it pits 18 against 17 and the game was never designed to leave a team a player short,” Bartlett said. “If a player can’t guard the mark, they are made to look foolish when a player runs off alongside them and the umpire isn’t quick enough to call play on.
“Guarding the mark was always a strong point of the top sides. It was almost an art form. Now the man on the mark is like a statue, sometimes it is like he is stuck in concrete.”
Bartlett said the fact that this year’s Coleman medallist Harry Mckay kicked only 58 goals was further evidence the AFL rule changes had failed.
“This year we bring in the ‘stand’ rule and the leading goalkicker kicks 58 goals for the season, which was the lowest tally since 1965 – apart from last year when we only played 17 games and 16-minute quarters,” he said.
The mastermind of the ‘stand’ rule, former AFL footy boss Steve Hocking, declared in March that he envisaged the return of the 100-goal full-forward during his time in charge.
“Give me another couple of years. I’m quietly confident,” Hocking said.
Bartlett, an AFL Hall of Fame Legend and former Laws of the Game committee member, has also called for the end of the “time-wasting” ruck nomination rule, saying it reminded him of “under-10s”.
“I don’t know why we always need to change things; there was nothing wrong with the third-man-up rule,” he said. “It was a great part of the game.
“All this putting your hand up to say who is going up in the ruck is under-10s stuff.”
Bartlett said the AFL’S decision to cut the interchange cap rotation from 90 to 75 was a step in the right direction, but said it was not enough.
“It was the first time the AFL has really acknowledged that interchange helps to cause congestion and density around the ball, but unfortunately 90 down to 75 doesn’t make a big enough difference,” he said.
Bartlett was encouraged to hear the AFL would almost certainly keep game time at 20 minutes plus time-on.
“That’s the perfect time for Australian rules football.”