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No more high free kicks for players who duck or shrug

The AFL has moved to clarify its position on head high contact warning players will no longer be rewarded free kicks when they duck or shrug tackles.


The league says a player with the ball, who is deemed to have a prior opportunity, and attempts to shrug, duck or lift an arm will be called for holding the ball.


“First and foremost, players attempting to win the ball must be protected and the onus on duty of care is on the tackler,” the AFL’s head of umpiring Dan Richardson said.


“However, having won the ball, the ball carrier has a duty of care to not put themselves in a position for high contact.

“Ultimately, the rules do not reward players for putting themselves in vulnerable positions to draw a free kick.


“This is something we prefer not to see in our game at any level.


“We want to be clear, if the umpire believes the ball carrier is responsible for the high contact, then they won’t be rewarded.


“Our umpires strive to get every decision right, every single time, however there are instances where, just like players, decisions are made at full speed at ground level without the benefit of slow-motion replay.


“The health and safety of players is the primary concern of both the AFL and the clubs, and we will continue to work with clubs, their coaching panels, as well as players to ensure the safety of the game.”


IMAGE: FILE