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Maynard Gets His kick Away

The AFL has announced the annual rule changes for the 2024 season, primarily focusing on player protection. The new rule interpretations cover smothering kicks and run-down tackles, both of which can risk player injury. Two incidents in 2023 led to these changes. Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard leaped into the air to attempt a smother against Demon Angus Brayshaw. Maynard collided with Brayshaw who suffered a concussion as a result of the collision. Maynard faced the tribunal but avoided suspension. Maynard’s exoneration was applauded by some sections of the football community who argued he had done nothing wrong, but the AFL flagged a review. The new rule states in part, "If a player leaves the ground in an attempt to smother, it will be deemed careless conduct at a minimum, “unless the player has taken all reasonable steps to avoid that high contact and/or minimize the force of that high contact (for example, by adopting a body position that minimizes the force of the high contact. The incident can be viewed on YouTube

While the AFL doesn’t want to end the run-down tackle,

the rough conduct guidelines have also been modified to better protect those in a vulnerable position. This came due to St Kilda's Dan Butler who engaged in a run-down tackle on Swan Nick Blakey. The tackle caused Blakey's head to hit the ground. It was deemed a dangerous tackle and Butler was suspended for one game. Run-down tackles aren't banned but a player could be reported if the tackled player is driven into the ground with excessive force. The incident can be viewed on YouTube at

The most obvious change to fans will be the interchange bench. It will expand from four to five players with three emergency players. Each team's sub will then be confirmed one hour prior to the match.

Other changes include: the action of a player ruled to have committed a strike, when intentionally shoving or fending an opponent, will now be graded as intentional rather than careless in post game reviews. Straight-arm blocks will be permitted in a ruck contest, provided the player contests the ball. A player could face a sanction if the offense is graded as severe impact.

Finally, and perhaps the item gaining the most attention on the internet is that whistling from the interchange bench is prohibited. The reasoning is that excessive whistling interferes with the broadcast and can cause confusion for umpires.


Article last changed on Monday, July 15, 2024 - 8:41 AM EDT

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