The AFL is set to introduce a major rule change in the wake of a controversial incident that rocked the finals series.
The Brayden Maynard tribunal case that divided the football world was the lead item on a raft of proposed rule changes and amendments sent to clubs on Thursday, ahead of the February AFL Commission meeting.
Collingwood defender Maynard was sent straight to the tribunal after knocking out Melbourne star Angus Brayshaw in the opening minutes of the qualifying final.
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Maynard jumped forward in an attempted smother and collected Brayshaw high with his shoulder with the Demon requiring lengthy attention on the field before leaving the field on a stretcher and in a neck brace.
In an extraordinary intervention, new AFL executive football boss Laura Kane stepped in to refer the incident to the tribunal over match review officer Michael Christian.
After a marathon tribunal hearing, Maynard was cleared and free to play a pivotal role in the Magpies’ premiership.
Brayden Maynard collects Angus Brayshaw, and Jack Viney has words to the Collingwood defender. Credit: Seven/Getty Images
But if a similar incident happens next year then a suspension will be the outcome.
7NEWS reporter Mitch Cleary said the AFL is demanding players who leave the ground to smother to show a greater duty of care and reduce their impact when making contact
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Cleary also said that players can’t wear gloves unless they have a medical reason and there will be no more whistling from officials on the bench.
Another important proposal for the tribunal guidelines is to tighten up on run-down tackles, where a player catches an opponent from behind with so much momentum that “the tackling player significantly increased the force with which the tackled player was driven to ground”.
The AFL also wants to cut down on tribunal hearings, with this year’s crackdown on dangerous tackles meaning a dramatic increase in direct referrals to the tribunal.
There were 11 charges rated as severe this season, meaning a direct referral – last year there was one.
The league wants to give a charged player the option to accept the penalty in these cases, provided the AFL only wants the minimum suspension.
That option would only be at the AFL’s discretion.
Thursday’s memo features more than 20 proposals for the tribunal guidelines and AFL regulations, with clubs also asked for feedback on when they name their substitute players before games.
Key features of proposed rule changes
* The AFL emailed a raft of rule changes to clubs on Thursday afternoon, with a deadline of January 19.
* Any agreed changes will go the AFL Commission for final approval in February.
* There are more than 20 proposals, covering the AFL Tribunal guidelines and regulations, plus the AFL rules.
* A tightening of the rough conduct rules for when a player leaves the ground when attempting to smother an opponent’s kick or handball. This was prompted by the Brayden Maynard tribunal case during the finals series.
* Amendment to dangerous tackles, taking into account run-downs where “the tackling player significantly increased the force with which the tackled player was driven to ground”.
* Changing the structure for player fines.
* Giving the AFL the option of not sending a charge rated as severe straight to the tribunal, if the league is only seeking a minimum penalty or doesn’t want the case tested. This follows a dramatic increase in tribunal cases this season because of the dangerous tackles crackdown.
* Increasing the club fees for tribunal hearings and appeals, to deter unnecessary challenges.
* Tightening the striking rule for when a player is trying to fend off an opponent away from the ball.
OTHER AFL RULES
* Clarifying how teams are ranked in the AFLW finals series, to help determine who hosts the grand final.
* Banning coaches from the interchange bench if they have been guilty of repeated breaches of AFL rules there.
* Charged players could be excused from attending their tribunal hearing, if they are injured or have mental health issues.
* Seeking feedback from clubs on when they announced their substitute before games, and how the substitute rule operates.
* Gloves only to be worn during games for medical reasons.
* A ban on coaches and other club staff whistling “or making any other such noises” from the bench to get the attention of players on the ground.
– With AAP