‘What a joke’: AFL video causes uproar
The AFL’s newly-introduced “standing the mark” rule remains a point of contention ahead of the 2021 premiership, and footage from an Essendon training session has done nothing to silence the doubters.
In an effort to encourage more scoring, defending players will effectively be prohibited from moving side-to-side more than a metre while on the mark this year.
If umpires believe the player on the mark has shifted too far, the opposition will be awarded a 50-metre penalty.
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The player manning the mark is also not allowed to be replaced by a teammate, subsequently limiting the defending team’s ability to get numbers back in defence.
A video from Essendon’s training session showed the new rule in action, with midfielder Darcy Parish being awarded a free kick after catching teammate Kyle Langford holding the ball.
Parish veered to his right while taking the free kick, with Langford habitually followed him by moving to his left.
But the umpire stopped play and awarded Parish a 50-metre penalty, calling Langford for an infringement.
Yuk. As if the umpires haven’t got enough on their plate. Watching if attacking player plays on, seeing if defenders get into protected area and watching if defender moves rather than STAND on the mark. #cantseeitall#whatdecisioncomesfirsthttps://t.co/HMIM838Xgy— Michael McGuane (@MickMCG34) February 23, 2021
I don’t really get the horror some have with this. The man on the mark clearly breaks the rule. We all knew it would take a couple weeks for players to completely get it but this isn’t a controversial incident https://t.co/8YzZ5kMvDU— Josh Barnes (@Josh__Barnes) February 23, 2021
Port Adelaide legend Warren Tredrea shared the clip to Twitter with the caption: “What a joke.”
Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph tweeted: “My concern with the man on the mark rule is that if it’s impossible to defend, as so many players believe, will teams want to play a seventh defender?”
Essendon great Matthew Lloyd told 3AW’s Sportsday on Tuesday morning: “I’ve heard some teams are really struggling with (the new stand rule).
“The umpires have been at up to 310 training sessions amongst clubs, I heard (Swans coach) John Longmire say he hopes it’s not a 50-metre goal-fest.
“A player at one club took one step, whistle goes and it’s a 50-metre penalty. I reckon the umpires are going to be ferocious on this rule early on.
“They say stand, you place once foot away (from the mark) and they were paying 50-metre penalties.”
However, AFL football boss Steve Hocking believes the responsibility should be on the players and coaches to adapt to the new rules.
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“They are umpiring match simulation and bringing an education with them but also working on their skills. They are there to umpire to the rule book, and standing the mark is no different,” Hocking told The Herald Sun.
“We are getting everyone to work together so it’s the responsibility of the umpires to officiate to the laws but the second part is the responsibility of coaches and players to make sure they understand the rules. We have to be very careful not to place all of the responsibility at the umpires’ feet.”
The 2021 AFL season commences on Thursday, March 18 with the Richmond Tigers taking on Carlton in a Melbourne derby at the MCG.
Originally published as ‘What a joke’: AFL video causes uproar