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Kick-in specialists to get the boot: Guerra

Mark Macgugan  March 27, 2013 8:30 AM

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Brent Guerra expects to be doing less kicking-in this season

THE AFL's new 'six-second rule' is set to reduce the impact of kick-in specialists as teams spread duties among more players, Hawthorn defender Brent Guerra says.

In a bid to shorten games this year, the League has told umpires to call 'play-on' if the ball has not been kicked in from a behind six seconds after the flags have been waved.

Last season players were given about seven or eight seconds, although the time allowance would often stretch further.

Along with Matt Suckling, Guerra took the bulk of the Hawks' kick-ins in 2012, and the pair's pinpoint passing helped the team rank No.1 in 'coast-to-coast' scores.

The 30-year-old said the rule change was likely to see Hawthorn – and indeed every club – relying more often on the player nearest the goalsquare to kick in, with designated kickers having less time to reach the ball.

"With the new rule, everyone will have to take a bit of responsibility," Guerra told AFL.com.au.

"Sometimes I'm not going to be down there to take the kick-in, and maybe 'Gibbo' (Josh Gibson) or someone will have to take them.
"I think they'll be shared around a fair bit this year."

Guerra said he suspected the hurry-up would also see players kicking in long more regularly.

Statistics from the 2013 NAB Cup, where the rule was in place for the first time, back that theory – over 42 per cent of kick-ins went long during the pre-season competition, compared to just 30.7 per cent during the 2012 home and away season.

"It was 10 seconds for kick-ins last year, and a lot of the time I wouldn't find the short option until right on the 10-second mark," Guerra said.

"So there'll be a lot more longer kick-ins, and a lot more turnovers too, I think."

However, Guerra said he had no problem with the rule.

"Players will get used to it," he said.

"I don't think it will be an issue."

Brent Guerra is a defender in AFL Fantasy. He averaged 76.5 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub.