West Coast premiership player Liam Duggan does not expect the AFL’s controversial new ‘stand’ rule to have a significantly negative impact on the game despite the latest furore emanating from his club’s recent practice match.
Fears over the possible implications of the new rule – which prohibits the player on the mark moving in any direction – were exacerbated over the weekend when footage of a 50m penalty paid against Fremantle’s Brennan Cox gained traction.
The Dockers defender had his head down and took a couple of half-steps away from Oscar Allen as the Eagles forward went back to line up a shot at goal at Lathlain Park.
The umpire immediately blew his whistle upon spotting Cox’s infringement and the ensuing penalty gifted Allen a goal from point-blank range.
It sparked an uproar amongst fans, while Eagles ruck star Nic Naitanui tweeted a ‘confused’ emoji with footage of the play in question.
— Nic Naitanui (@NicNat) February 28, 2021
A handful of similar penalties were paid in other practice matches last week, though no more than two were paid in any of the nine fixtures.
Duggan, who insisted he didn’t see the Cox-Allen incident live, said the new rule would only require a minor adjustment from players and umpires this season.
“A little bit, but that’s just part of it,” the 102-game backman said.
“We’ve just got to get on with it and I think that’s what the boys will do.
“Hopefully there’s not too much (confusion) about it.
“I don’t think it’s going to impact too much, it’s just retraining the brain.”
Duggan said he clarified part of the ‘stand’ rule with umpires.
“You want to go, you’re just used to it, (but) it’s obviously just listening to the umpire’s call. You hear ‘stand’, you stand,” Duggan said.
“I just asked the question, ‘Can you still jump up and down?’ That was all good to do, trying to stop a goal.
“But I didn’t see it impact too much. You get a little break on the mark when they say ‘stand’ so you just take it.”
The rule is designed to allow attacking teams to move the ball faster without players on the mark moving laterally to block kicking lanes.
It is expected to create more free-flowing play and, ultimately, increase scoring across the board.