PLAYERS drawing head-high contact will be prominent onthe agenda when senior coaches and the AFL umpires list meet in November todiscuss the laws of the game.
In a new initiative ahead of the 2014 season, the AFLwill bring together coaches and umpires to "deliver greater clarity andconsistency around key interpretations of the laws".
Players drawing head-high contact by dropping their knees or shrugging their arms have become a growing source of frustration forsupporters.
There are also fears for the safety of players whochoose to lead with their head once taking possession of the ball, as Hawthornmidfielder Jordan Lewis did in round 18.
Others topics set for discussion are:
- Players drawing free kicks other than for head-highcontact
- Illegal disposal in tackling
- Marking contests
- The protected area around the player with the ball
- Ruck contests
AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said theplanned sessions were designed to assist the way umpires and clubs prepared foran upcoming season.
Evans outlined the proposal to club CEOs on Wednesdayat their two-day conference in Creswick in central Victoria and wrote to allclub football departments on Thursday.
"In recent seasons we have seen both umpires andclubs adjusting to the requirements of the laws … once the season isunderway," Evans said.
'This has often led to some confusion in the openingweeks of the year around some key points before the game settles as the yearprogresses."
November's sessions will take place after the AFLCommission has determined its view on the laws of the game.
The 18 coaches will still have a voice on the laws ofthe game committee, however, after Collingwood interim football manager RodneyEade was added to the panel.
Evans said it was hoped umpires would be coached toapply the laws in a particular way, and coaches could prepare their players onhow the laws would be applied.
"Our umpiring department is always striving forconsistency through the entire list across a weekend of matches and through awhole season," he said.
'The aim here will be to have these matters finalisedbefore pre-season training starts, to improve both the decision-making processand how clubs prepare their players."
NathanSchmook is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @AFL_Nathan