AFL UMPIRES will continue to warn players for breaches of the 6-6-6 starting position rules, despite fears clubs and players could deliberately exploit the policy.
The League confirmed to AFL.com.au on Tuesday the football operations team would review the warning aspect of the rule at the end of 2019, but until then umpires would continue to caution players for starting out of position.
The strong stance follows examples across the weekend of teams receiving a warning for not having the correct formation at centre bounces.
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The prime example was in the Fremantle-St Kilda game when the Saints had seven forwards when the teams lined up for a centre bounce with only eight seconds remaining in the match and the Dockers holding a five-point lead.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson was adamant this was a mistake, rather than a deliberate ploy to gain an advantage.
Teams have 40 seconds to get players in their starting positions – with six in each of the forward and defensive arcs, four in the centre square and one on each wing.
A second infringement after a warning leads to the umpire paying a free kick to the opposition ruckman at the centre bounce.
The AFL says umpires also have the power to pay a 50m penalty from the centre bounce if they determine a club is deliberately flouting the starting position rule.
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Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley and AFL legend Leigh Matthews are two who have argued the AFL should scrap the warning system.
"It's exploitable, that's why it's an absolute joke to have a warning ... How can you have a warning?" Buckley told SEN on Monday.
"Why wouldn't you, with eight seconds left in the game, roll the dice?
"If you get away with it then great, you've got an advantage, and if you don't, well, then it's only a warning."
Umpire Leigh Fisher signals the end of the game, seconds after the 6-6-6 infringement. Picture: AFL Photos