tmedia
Main content

Recommended videos

Highlights: Richmond v Carlton

11:17pm Mar 27, 2014

Malthouse rues costly mistakes

11:44pm Mar 27, 2014

Recommended articles

Sunday football as it happened

Sunday football as it happened

Recap Port's Showdown upset, plus big wins for the Hawks and Tigers

11:45am Apr 14, 2013

St Kilda v Richmond as it happened

St Kilda v Richmond as it happened

 Recap Friday night's MCG clash as the Tigers make their best start to a season in 16 years

04:00pm Apr 5, 2013

Carlton v Collingwood as it happened

Carlton v Collingwood as it happened

Recap Friday night's blockbuster as the Blues capitulate in front of 78,000 at the MCG

10:36pm Jul 5, 2013

Saturday football as it happened

Saturday football as it happened

Recap a day bookended by two major boilovers

01:00pm Mar 30, 2013

Fantasy review: round three

Fantasy review: round three

It was a tough round for AFL Fantasy coaches, Warnie writes

10:42pm Apr 6, 2014

Football world sends off Hafey in style

Football world sends off Hafey in style

Tom Hafey remembered as a great coach and a wonderful man

06:15pm May 19, 2014

AFL writes to clubs over 'third man up' anomalies

Nathan Schmook  March 6, 2017 5:31 PM

Fyfe's price, AFL memo, MRP's call Footy Feed with Matt Thompson, Nat Edwards and Nick Bowen
AFL 2017 JLT Community Series - North Melbourne v Hawthorn

Kangaroos skipper Jack Ziebell was caught up in the 'third man up' controversy

It's a little bit unusual, so we'll just be asking the clubs if the player who gets hit by the ball is passive and not looking to impact the ruck contest should we just be calling play on?

THE AFL has no intention of scrapping the 'third man up' rule but will seek feedback from clubs on how to adjudicate anomalies with the controversial change. 

Problems with the rule, which requires teams to nominate a ruckman before each boundary throw-in or ball-up, have been exposed over the JLT Community Series.

Adelaide midfielder Dean Gore was penalised when he was hit by a shallow throw-in against Geelong, while North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell also gave away a free kick under the new rule. 

Introduced to eliminate the 'third man up' at ruck contests, the rule does not allow for a player outside each teams' ruckman to touch the ball, even if a throw-in doesn't travel to the contest.

AFL director of umpiring Peter Schwab said the rule would not be scaled back to once again allow a 'third man up', but tweaks could be made ahead of the final weekend of the pre-season series.

"It's a little bit unusual, so we'll just be asking the clubs if the player who gets hit by the ball is passive and not looking to impact the ruck contest should we just be calling play on?" Schwab said.

"It's more than likely they'll ask that that change occurs. 

"We've had about 600 boundary throw-ins and I think that's the first time in the men's JLT Community Series that someone has been hit on the back of the head." 

Schwab said the AFL would send clubs a memo on Monday evening asking for feedback on the 'third man up' and rushed behind rule, which will revert to a free kick penalty this week.   

It was likely an outcome on the former would be reached this week, in time for the final round of pre-season games. 

If there was a change, Schwab said umpires would only be instructed to call play on if the player who was struck was passive, as Gore was. 

"If we feel that you are trying to interfere in the ruck contest, then the penalty will stand," he said.

"Ziebell's is a bit different, because there's still some movement across the contest … he's not a passive participant in that."

The banning of the 'third man up' and introduction of nominated ruckmen was seen as a radical rule change when announced last December. 

It sparked debate and split the AFL's senior coaches, but the Commission passed the contentious change after widespread consultation. 

Then football operations manager Mark Evans said it was an important change that would preserve one of the game's unique features. 

"Eliminating the 'third man up' at ruck contests will support the recruitment of tall players and ensure our game continues to be played at the elite level by players of various sizes and differing abilities," Evans said in December.

The game's umpires also believed the rule change would make the game easier to adjudicate. 

Adelaide coach Don Pyke said the anomalies in the rule could lead to contentious decisions in big games. 

"It's one of the real weird ones that rule – if the ball hits you as a midfielder, and you're around the contest, it's a free kick against," Pyke said at the weekend. 

"If that led to a goal … I'd hate to see that happen in a big game."