‘What a joke’: AFL fans fume over videoVideo from Essendon’s training session.

The AFL’s newly-introduced “standing the mark” rule remains a point of contention ahead of the 2021 premiership, and footage from an Essendon training session has done nothing to silence the doubters.

In an effort to encourage more scoring, defending players will effectively be prohibited from moving side-to-side more than a metre while on the mark this year.

If umpires believe the player on the mark has shifted too far, the opposition will be awarded a 50-metre penalty.

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The player manning the mark is also not allowed to be replaced by a teammate, subsequently limiting the defending team’s ability to get numbers back in defence.

A video from Essendon’s training session showed the new rule in action, with midfielder Darcy Parish being awarded a free kick after catching teammate Kyle Langford holding the ball.

Parish veered to his right while taking the free kick, with Langford habitually followed him by moving to his left.

But the umpire stopped play and awarded Parish a 50-metre penalty, calling Langford for an infringement.

Port Adelaide legend Warren Tredrea shared the clip to Twitter with the caption: “What a joke.”

Essendon great Matthew Lloyd told 3AW’s Sportsday on Tuesday morning: “I’ve heard some teams are really struggling with (the new stand rule).

“The umpires have been at up to 310 training sessions amongst clubs, I heard (Swans coach) John Longmire say he hopes it’s not a 50-metre goal-fest.

“A player at one club took one step, whistle goes and it’s a 50-metre penalty. I reckon the umpires are going to be ferocious on this rule early on.

“They say stand, you place once foot away (from the mark) and they were paying 50-metre penalties.”

AFL football boss Steve Hocking believes the rule change will encourage sides to attack through the corridor rather than pushing out wide.

“We absolutely just want greater flow, that’s what we want to see,” Hocking told 7NEWS earlier this month.

“We want to see players do random acts and certainly more instinctive play, and take the game on.

“Hopefully what the fans get to see is a better balance between attack and defence, that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”

The 2021 AFL season commences on Thursday, March 18 with the Richmond Tigers taking on Carlton in a Melbourne derby at the MCG.


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