What’s changed in the AFL for 2022?

An AFL player bends over with his hands on his hips as an umpire signals behind him during a game.

We’re a couple of days away from the new AFL season and everyone from teams to fans and pundits are getting pretty excited for the start of proceedings.

As seems often the case in recent years, the new season brings a handful of changes to rules or new interpretations to the game.

But how big are this year’s changes, and what impact can we expect them to have on premiership matches once the season proper gets underway?

There are two main rules that the AFL have announced changes in interpretation — holding the ball and time delay.

Holding the ball

According to the AFL, umpires will be less lenient towards players who have had prior opportunity and do not immediately and correctly dispose of the football when tackled.

Free kicks will be awarded against players who duck their heads prior to being tackled and do not dispose of the ball correctly.

Some of the red flags for umpires will include players evading, fending, ducking, having a prior option and not taking it, being balanced and steady, or driving their head.

It’s hard to get a grip on how big this one will be.

Author: Ivan Robinson