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Competition committee spoils rule change option

Sources confirmed the discussion took place however it remains unclear whether the AFL thought such a rule change had merit, with Nine’s Footy Classified reporting in October that members of the AFL Commission had discussed the idea.

The option was one of several alternatives presented for discussion as the AFL embarks on a balancing act, introducing rules that ease congestion without bringing in rules that change the fabric of the game and aggravate spectators.

The league announced soon after the meeting that three changes to the AFL rules in 2021 had been approved by the AFL Commission with the number of interchanges permitted per team per match reduced from 90 to 75, an adjustment made for the player standing the mark and an increase in the distance for a player standing the mark from a kick in from 10 to 15 metres.

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The commission also approved a trial for the VFL/East Coast second tier competition to allow three players from each team stationed inside 50 metres, including one player from each team in the goal square, for all kick ins and boundary throw-ins.

The success of this trial will be assessed to determine whether it is introduced to the AFL in 2022.

Scoring decreased again in 2020 even when adjusted to allow for the fact shorter quarters were played and congestion increased as players were able to defend even more effectively in 16-minute quarters.

Although the AFL is yet to officially confirm quarter lengths in 2021 they expect the reduction in interchange rotations to increase space as players fatigue with the a cap of 120 interchange rotations introduced in 2014 reduced to 90 in 2016 before being reduced to 75 for next season.

With uncertainty about the effects the coronavirus pandemic will have on 2021 and the delay in decision making caused when the season stretched until October 24, the AFL said next year’s fixture might be released as late as February.

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