AFL skipper stumped by divisive rule

Port Adelaide Power captain Tom Jonas admits that even he is confused by the AFL’s always controversial rushed behind rule.

Port Adelaide skipper Tom Jonas admits there is a “grey” area about the AFL’s rushed behind rule, with two-time premiership Kangaroo David King appealing to the league for clarification about it.

The rushed behind rule is back on the agenda after a decision late in the nailbiting clash between Port Adelaide and Richmond, where Power gun Robbie Gray took the ball over the line.

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No free kick was awarded with Gray following AFL rules by handballing it over the Richmond goal line while inside 10 metres, under apparent pressure by the Tigers forwards.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s Saturday Countdown, King believed it was time for a shift in rules given it would’ve been judged a deliberate out of bounds if only it went a few metres to the right or left.

“By the rules and the letter of the law, it’s the right call. But I don’t think you should be able to handball the ball through the behinds at any stage of the game from anywhere,” he said.

“This is not what we want our game to be. If that goes over the boundary line that is a free kick. Why should it be different because it is three metres to the right?”

Jonas explained he wasn’t concerned during the incident and believed it was now a clear example for players to follow across the competition.

“I certainly don’t have a great understanding of it as it doesn’t happen a lot now as blokes are nervous,” he told Fox Footy.

“Robbie did the right thing and I was glad he was as sure as he was. There was a lot of heat out on the ground.

“It is an area that is still a bit grey. We try and be all over it as defenders, but you certainly by watching the games around the league you know there is some ambiguity there.

“I was thinking that’s a great decision but I hope something doesn’t go array and they pay something against us. I don’t have that clarity or confidence in the consistency of the decision making.”

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Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton praised Gray for his “battle calm” during the defining few minutes of the match, taking the ball to safety for the Power.

“That rule there you are giving up your score, you’re allowed to do it, the opposition get something. That has always been the way. We’re harking back 100 years for that,” he added.

“The possession of the ball now is worth more than that one point. Let’s change the way the structure of the rule has changed.”

“I’m saying it should be a free kick to Richmond, shot on goal,’ King added.

“If it’s a deliberate handball rushed behind, that should be changed immediately. It has to be taken out of the game. That’s not what we want as a spectacle.”

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Post-match, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick didn’t have a clear view on the decision, outlining there was a number of incidents during the contest that could go “one-way or the other”.

Richmond is now 2-2 and faces St Kilda on Thursday night.

This story originally appeared in Fox Footy and was reproduced with permission.


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