CAFL to see new rule changes 

CAFL rules 2019

The 2019 Central Australian Football League (CAFL) season will see the introduction of new rule changes which were unveiled by the AFL in October. 

The rules will be implemented by all senior competitions in the upcoming season.

The AFL Commission approved the changes which were the result of more than a year’s consultation by the League’s  game analysis team and the input of the Competition Committee.

The rule changes include including starting positions for centre bounces and revamped rules around kick-ins from behinds. The hands-in-the-back rule was also scrapped.

It is hoped the package of changes will produce more free-flowing, instinctive football and more one-on-one contests.

AFLNT Umpire Manager Andrew McBean will present the new rules to the CAFL Umpiring group at training on Wednesday 10 April, with trial matches to follow on Thursday 11 and Friday 12.

The umpires will then meet with the clubs to go through the rules in greater detail.

McBean said the rule changes will bring the CAFL into line with other competitions around the country.

“The umpiring department is looking forward to the opportunity to work through the new rule changes and discuss them in depth with players and coaches from all clubs to ensure a smooth start to the season.

“Continuing to develop relationships with clubs is vitally important as we all gain further understanding of the rule changes for the 2019 CAFL season,” he said.  

The changes and a brief overview are;

Traditional playing positions at centre bounces
- In the men’s competition, teams must have a 6 – 6 – 6 set up at centre bounces with no more than six players inside both 50 metre arc and one player from each team required to be inside each of the goal squares. Four midfield players are to be positioned inside the centre square with the wing players required to be placed along the wing, one of each side. 
- In the women’s competition, teams must have a 5 – 6 – 5 set up at centre bounces with the same scenario as above.

- At kick-ins, a player will no longer need to kick to him/herself to play on from the goal square.
- Following a behind, the player on the mark will be brought out to 10m from the top of the goal square, rather than the existing five metres.  

Marks and free kicks in defence  
- When defenders mark or receive a free kick within nine metres of their own goal, the player on the mark will be brought in line with the top of the goal square.

Umpire contact
- Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the umpire at centre bounces.

Kicking for goal after the siren 
A player who has been awarded a mark or free kick once play has ended: 
- Will now be able to kick across their body using a snap or check-side kick. 
- BUT must kick the ball directly in line with the man on the mark and the goal.

Marking contests
The 'hands in the back’ rule interpretation has been repealed so a player can now:
- Place hands on the back of opponent to protect position in a marking contest
- PROVIDED he/she does not push his opponent in the back.

Ruck contests: prior opportunity
- A ruck who takes direct possession of the ball from a bounce, throw-up or boundary throw-in will no longer be regarded as having had prior opportunity.
- Where there is uncertainty over who is the designated ruck, the ruck for each team will still be required to nominate to the field umpire. 

- Teams can only have one runner. 
- The runner can enter the field of play at any time from the team bench and is not required to go through the interchange gates. 
- The runner cannot loiter on the field. 

Water Carriers and Trainers
- Water carriers and trainers must remain behind the boundary line when not delivering water to or attending to players and must stay clear of all players directly involved in play.
- They must not remain on the playing arena after performing their duties and leave the field of play by the most direct route once the ball is back in the centre square. 

Boundary throw ins
- Women’s competition only: The boundary umpires are to bring the ball in 10 metres from the boundary line to throw it in. 

50 metre penalties
- The player with the ball will now be able to advance the mark by 50 metres without the infringing player delaying the game. 
- Opposition players need to stay out of the moving protected area.
- The player with the football will be able to play on during the advancement of the 50 metre penalty.

A full list of the rules can be found here.

Rovers and the new team, South will kick off the 2019 CAFL season in a women’s game on TIO Traeger Park on Friday 26 April before the other divisions begin on Saturday 27 April.

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