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Rule tinkering aimed at defenders: Shaw

Heath Shaw suspects the AFL rules committee is too focused on making life tough for defenders - ${keywords}
Heath Shaw suspects the AFL rules committee is too focused on making life tough for defenders
Collingwood defender Heath Shaw says the AFL is focused too much on changing rules involving backmen.

The latest modification that players will have to absorb is the six-second rule, designed to speed up the game.

The defender will have only six seconds to kick the ball back into play instead of eight or more after a point is scored before umpires call play-on.

Shaw said the backmen would have to adapt to the regulation but called it yet another imposition on players in the back half.

"It would be good if the rules committee changed some of the rules up the other end, for the forwards and not the defenders because they seem to make our life even more difficult," Shaw said on Thursday.

He said that the move would cut down on players' decision-making and limit their options bringing the ball back into play.

"I suppose you just adapt to it. You can't take your time and get a little rest," Shaw said.

"We'll obviously move it in a bit quicker or I'll kick it to myself and run away like I usually do."

Shaw said he doubted the rule would contribute to more turnovers because of the time constraints.

"I hope not but it is limiting your chance to look around a bit more," he said.

The Magpies meet North Melbourne in their opening round clash next Sunday week at Etihad Stadium and Shaw said they would need to be well prepared after a late season loss last year.

"They got on top of us late last year and gave us a little bit of a touch-up in round 21 before the finals but it's a different year with different teams and different game plans," Shaw said.

"We're going to have to be on our toes, we're going to have to be at our best.

"We've spoken about it but that was last year and it's hard to judge whether they're going to go with the same game plan."

Shaw said Collingwood were "very confident" going into the game, but believed the Kangaroos would also be optimistic about their chances.

"I haven't seen a lot of them over the pre-season but from all reports they've had a pretty solid hit-out and they've been pretty good over the (pre-season) series."

Listen below to Heath Shaw's take on the Magpies' opening game against North Melbourne.

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