Preseason is the most interesting time of year in any sport. Some people take it seriously, others think it’s a joke. Most sports love taking the chance to obscure their own rules for entertainments sake.
With the rule twists the AFL have tried over the years (the Supergoal springs to mind) here’s five things I’d like to see the AFL try in the 2016 preseason
Hit the post? Play on – I’ve harped on about this for at least a decade. If the ball hits the post you shouldn’t be rewarded with a score / give away a free kick or a boundary throw in – you should just keep playing. If it goes through for a behind or a goal the score stands, if it goes out for a stoppage, the stoppage occurs and if it rebounds into the field of play we play on. What’s so wrong with players being alert in every scenario?
Out of bounds? Opponent gets the ball – There aren’t many sports in the world where you can take the ball out of the field of play and not turn it over. All the out of bounds on the full rule does is punish inaccurate kicking. If you want to reduce the length of the game a simple way to do that is to keep the ball in play. Players aren’t going to want to take the ball out if they know they’re going to turn it over.
Shot clock – Not in the here’s 30 seconds after you mark sense. From the time the team come in to possession of the ball (regardless of their position on the field) they have two and a half minutes to take a shot. How often do fans complain about slowing the game to eat up the clock? The easiest way to stop that is to put a cap on the time each team has to do something with the ball.
To mark or not to mark? – If you can take a mark one-handed inside your forward fifty metre arc you’re given a free ten metre advance. What’s more important? possession or field placement? Fans love to question the decision making process of players at any opportunity they get. What will players do when they have the carrot of field possession intertwined with the risk of losing the ball?
Stop the repeat stoppage – If there are three repeat stoppages within a 60 second period the team in possession of the ball at the last stoppage gives away a free kick. Fans are looking for incentives to rid the game of congestion and if teams are going to give away free kicks for causing stoppages they are going to want to dispose of the ball.
Note: Obviously some of these are never going to happen but it would could completely change the thought process during the game.
Note 2: A big shoutout to the suggestion that an interesting preseason rule would be the “”nobody gives Joel Selwood a free kick”rule.