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How have the rules of AFL football changed?

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Answered 2014-04-14 00:40:21
AFL Rules Changed1) There used to be only one field umpire, it then increased to 2 before increasing to 3.

2) The interchange bench was introduced in the second half of the 20th century allowing teams to have one player on the interchange bench. This has slowly increased to the 5 we have today.

3) In connection, during the 1950's and 60's, the 19th and 20th man were not "Interchange". Once a player came off the field of play he was not permitted to return.

4) Along with the 50 meter line, there used to be a 15 meter line which was abolished sometime in the 1980s.

5) Along with this, 15 meter penalties used to be awarded as well as 50 meter penalties. The 15 meter penalty is now abolished. (There was a time when there was ONLY a 15 metre penalty, also, but it was insufficient penalty.)

6) The centre square wasn't always there, it was introduced in the 1960-70's when too many players were following the ball causing more injury and scrappy play. Back then it was shaped like a diamond.

7) When a player marked the ball inside 50, he had a choice of kicking the ball conventionally or taking a place kick for goal at that spot like they do in Rugby when they kick for conversions. this was abolished sometime in the earlier 1900s

8) The interpretations of the rules have changed over time. this i wont go into because its too complicated, but a good example is the holding-the-ball vs holding-the-man rule. This has always proved some enigma in the great footy game. Currently, it over-favours defensive play!

9) Back in the great days of football, players were able to knock over, take speckies on and verbally abuse the umpire and nothing would happen (edit - I can't remember seeing a player taking a hanger over an umpire), they just took it on the chin. Now, as of 2002, touch an umpire or swear at him, you could be out for a couple of weeks. It's sad to see because this is the one of the many great things about footy. Edit - possibly because the AFL is having trouble attracting young people to the role of umpires due to the culture of umpire abuse, therefore making the role of umpire more sacrosanct will alleviate some of those concerns.

10) Before, You could take any reasonable amount of time to kick the ball after a mark, now allowed 30 seconds.

11) The second centre circle wasn't there until 2003. It was meant to stop knee injuries and corkies in ruckmen by limiting their run up to the ruck. However, all that was wrong was the inability of certain clubs ruck coaches whose lack of knowledge of the art of rucking lead to them teaching today's ruckmen to run straight into the player in the ruck when what you should do is go into the ruck contest on a 45 degree angle from the opposing ruckmen, this prevents injury and helps give u an advantage over your opponent. [Corkies have always been a potential problem for ruckmen at bounce downs ... not so bad at boundary throw-ins]

12) Another very big change that has been introduced is the "deliberate out of bounds" rule.

Associated with this also is the "Out of bounds on the full" rule. In the 1960's and before, a player could kick the ball out of bounds and the ball was simply tossed in for a ruck duel.

13) Previously, a player/full back kicking in after a behind being scored: if he kicked out from over the kick-in line, the ball was simply bounced for a ruck duel. That rule has now changed.

14) Also, a great deal of holding or retardation of a player without the ball in his physical possession is permitted nowadays compared to pre-70's. There is a lot more man-handling of a player without the ball let go now.

15) Also, for a couple of brief seasons in the 1960's, the VFL permitted the use of "flick passes" as a substitute for genuinely punched, handpasses. This was generally used when a player had taken an overhead mark and wished to dish the ball off quickly, or if he couldn't use his non-dominant hand.

16) It used to be that for a mark to be awarded, a kick had to merely travel through the air untouched for at least 10 yards. The requirement is now 15 metres minimum.

17) Likewise, bouncing the ball on the ground used to be required every 10 yards if you were running with the ball - now you are permitted to cover 15 metres before the ball must touch the ground.

You can borrow a library book called, "100 Years of Football". It goes through rule changes from all periods of our great game plus it give u a lot of its history and the great teams and players and coaches who participated in it for all states in Australia. Have fun.


Yes they have changed and continue to change all-most every Year. The crux of the question is in application. Umpires can choose (and are directed to by the Umpiring board) how the rules are applied. A "Holding the ball" free kick can be viewed as an "in the back" free-kick depending on which team You follow. Confused? How do you think AFL Fans feel? .... :-O !/?

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