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SANFL's bold new out of bounds rule and 50 rotations per game

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 13: Jarrad Redden of the Magpies competes with Jesse Kemp of the Bulldogs during the 2015 SANFL 1st Semi Final match between the Port Adelaide Magpies and Central District at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide on September 13, 2015. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)
The SANFL hopes to reduce the number of boundary throw-ins

THE SANFL has announced bold rule changes for its 2016 season including an interchange cap of just 50 rotations and awarding a free kick against the team that kicks or handballs a ball out of bounds without the ball being touched.

The SANFL has seen a rise in interchange rotations from an average of 34 per game to 90 over the past seven seasons and a fall in average total scoring from 208 points per game in 2006 to just 152 points per game in 2015.

The League's Laws of the Game Committee put forward a proposal to the SA Football Commission to reduce the number of rotations to just 50 per game, including three at each quarter break, which was approved to be introduced in 2016.

SANFL Football general manager Adam Kelly told the League website it was necessary to ease congestion and lift scoring.

"The primary concern and motivation of the Laws of the Game Committee was to address the call to make the game more attractive as a spectacle, which includes the spreading of players on the field to reduce congestion," Kelly said.

The SANFL has decided to award a free kick against the team that kicks or handballs a ball out of bounds without being touched in a bid to lower the number of throw-ins and total stoppages.

Players won't be penalised if they spoil or carry the ball over the line unless the umpire deems the action to be deliberate.

The SANFL had a record number of stoppages per game in 2015 – 108 – and a record number of throw-ins per game, 35.

Kelly said the rule was designed to lower the number of stoppages and discourage teams from playing around the boundary line.

"Through the sample of games that we tracked the occurrence of possession going out of bounds and resulting in a free kick there was on average four occurrences per game," he said.

"This rule will result in [fewer] stoppages, multiplied by the evidence of repeat stoppages," Kelly said.