The AFL’s polarising man on the mark rule has come under the microscope in the very first half of football this season.
Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas has lashed the AFL’s new man on the mark rule after Richmond was the beneficiary of a 50m penalty goal in the first half.
The incident occurred at the end of the first half where Josh Caddy was able to take advantage of a Blues player’s indiscretion, giving Richmond breathing space at the end of the first half against Carlton.
With the match being finely placed after a competitive first half, Thomas was left unimpressed by the result seemingly being altered by the controversial rule.
“If the AFL are happy for games to be decided by 50m penalties because of their man on the mark rule the game is truly cooked,” Thomas tweeted.
Thomas’ call on the man on the mark rule was also echoed by Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury, who urged for the AFL to exercise “common sense”.
“Since we can make rules changes very quickly in our game,” Pendlebury tweeted.
“Man on the mark rule, east west movement equals 50, north south doesn’t matter. It’s about opening up 45’s. Common sense please.”
The man on the mark rule wasn’t the only one to split opinions in the first half of the season-opener, with a controversial deliberate out of bounds call on Carlton defender Liam Jones.
Jones appeared to fumble the ball on the last line of defence in the second quarter, but was adjudged to have deliberately rushed a behind, with the umpire giving Richmond the free kick.
Daniel Rioli was awarded the free kick, but missed the shot on goal in what was deemed as football “karma” by ex-Hawks skipper Luke Hodge on commentary for Seven.
“That’s footy karma there,” Hodge said.
“You’ve got a six-foot-five fella running back trying to control the ball. I reckon the crowd gave that one. He got talked into it.
“If we pay that all year, there is going to be a lot of angry supporters.”
However, having seemingly set the precedent, the umpires did not award Carlton a free kick in a similar situation just minutes later, leaving fans scratching their heads.