The Australian Sports Brain Bank has revealed the late Shane Tuck had a severe case of CTE, making him the third AFL player - after Graham "Polly Farmer and Danny Frawey - to have suffered from the crippling neurological disorder. The former Richmond star died in July last year at the age of 38 after a lengthy battle with mental health issues. Tuck’s family agreed to donate his brain to the Brain Bank and it was revealed he had stage three CTE. Neuropathologist Michael Buckland said, “It’s the worst case I’ve seen so far.
The AFL announced several rule changes for 2021. One is that Interchange rotations will be cut from 90 to 75.
In second-tier competitions, teams will be required to reset in zones for boundary throw-ins and kick-ins along with center bounces. The six-six-six set-up was introduced ahead of the 2020 season. For now, the rule is on a trial basis but could be introduced for the senior competition in 2022.
It is something the AFL has tried, without much success, in the past and is set to try again - a mid-season draft. The league notified the clubs that the draft would take place at the beginning of June after Round 11 and just ahead of the bye rounds. The decision to hold a mid-season draft was finalized by the AFL Commission in October following discussions by the Competition Committee, but the finer details were not determined at that time. To be eligible, players must have previously nominated for an AFL draft or been on an AFL club list.
The AFL will continue its experiment with its radically shortened version of the game, AFLX, in a round-robin tournament at Marvel Stadium on Friday, February 22nd. The competition will climax with a final between the top two teams.
It’s AFL, but not as we know it...
The game format is intended to showcase the fast and furious aspects of Australian football, but played on a rectangular field similar to a soccer or American football field. The playing area is just 110 meters (120 yards) in length. There is a 10-meter "launching zone" in the middle of the ground and a 15-meter "forward zone" at each end of the field. The resemblance to AFL is maintained by using standard AFL goal posts.
Each team has fourteen players with only eight of their players permitted on the field at any one time, while the rest sit on the interchange bench. There are no limits on the number of interchanges or substitutions permitted. The game is played in two ten minute halves with no time on added for delays or stoppages.
Play starts with the umpire throwing the ball up in the center of the ground.
Several months ago, the AFL announced new rule changes for 2019. Perhaps the most welcome change - for defenders at least - is the elimination of the hands in the back rule. No longer will a free kick be awarded to a player who simply places his hands on the back of his opponent. A push will still be penalized.
After a point is scored, players will now be allowed to run through the goal square and take off without having to kick the ball to themselves. They will also be allowed to handball the ball out from a behind instead of being restricted to just kicking it to themselves in the goal square or to a teammate. The opposition player standing at "the mark" in front of the goal square will be positioned 10 meters (11 yards) from the edge of the square rather than the previous five meters.
The AFL has introduced a new signing period for players overlooked in the draft and rookie draft. One is the supplemental selection period (SSP) between December 1 and March 15, after all the drafts are over. The SSP is for state league players who miss out on the draft as well as players recently delisted by their clubs. To be eligible, players must have previously nominated for the national draft or previously been on an AFL club list.