Expect some teething problems with the AFL’s new rules this season.
There was uproar when footage emerged last week of Essendon’s match simulation, showing Darcy Parish being awarded a 50m free kick when Kyle Langford moved off the mark slightly to his left.
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The decision was the correct one based on the new “standing the mark” rule, which reared its head again on the weekend in a scratch match between West Coast and Fremantle.
Dockers backman Brennan Cox was manning the mark when Eagles player Oscar Allen lined up for a set shot from 35m out, only for Cox to give away a 50m free by turning his back and stretching his left leg.
The restrictions on movement will take some getting used to and another aspect of the rule appeared to fly under the radar in Brisbane’s pre-season clash against the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Lions recruit Joe Daniher booted four goals, including one set shot from 50m out. However, he wheeled around onto his left foot in a wide arc, which should have been picked up by either his opponent or the official.
Under the new man-on-the-mark rule, umpires have been instructed to call “play on” whenever a kicker deviates off a straight line. Because the defender manning the mark can’t move anymore, allowing players to run as far wide as Daniher would open up the possibility for kickers to simply run past the player in front of them.
Footage of the incident, from the 23-second mark in the video below, shows an umpire raising his arms to signal play-on when he notices Daniher veering off course. The man on the mark appears to be unhappy with Daniher’s route to goal, gesturing to officials to question why the Lions star is able to get away with it.
It’s possible that the time it takes for the umpire to notice a kicker moving off the straight, call play on, and the defender to hear that call, may be too long for the player on the mark to take any meaningful action before the attacker makes contact with the ball.
It’s also possible that in this case, the man on the mark didn’t hear the umpire’s call.
The @BrisbaneLions new "Twin Towers" of Daniher and Hipwood have produced instant results, booting 8-goals between them in today's trial against the @GoldCoastSUNS. No major injuries but the scoreboard was a different matter. https://t.co/[email protected]#AFL#7NEWSpic.twitter.com/CtpGocMI0E
Evidence of the left-footer’s set-shot arc impacted. Now called to “play on” as Joe Daniher winds up here. This will happen stacks per game, particularly in the back half, with umpires instructed to be vigilant. pic.twitter.com/hCI706FXJ7
Regardless of the confusion, there were promising signs for Brisbane fans in Daniher’s first outing since moving from Essendon in the off-season.
The injury-plagued 26-year-old looms as a key weapon in the Lions forward line if he can stay fit, as the Queensland club looks to go even further in 2021 after losing to Geelong in last tear’s preliminary final.
Daniher played a pivotal role in Brisbane’s 15.12 (102) to 8.7 (55) win over the Suns, and coach Chris Fagan wants to give his new signing as much game time as possible before the season proper kicks off to gel with his teammates.
Lions captain Dayne Zorko said earlier this year he believes the left-footer will flourish being outside the AFL fishbowl of Melbourne.
“Since the season finished Joe stayed up here the whole time, so he’s been around the group the past three months, training with them and has fitted in absolutely seamlessly,” Zorko said.
“He’s fitted into this lifestyle really well. He seems to be a guy that likes to just float undercover as much as possible and get his work done, and he’s been able to do that here.
“I’m really glad that he could come up here and enjoy his football again, and mingle with the guys which he’s done already.
“He’s been around most of the guys’ families as well and everyone loves him and his partner, so they’re really great additions to our football club.”
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