Monday, 7 July 2014

Prior Opportunity and Incorrect Disposal

One thing I LOVE seeing on the footy field is a beautifully laid tackle.  Unfortunately, 90% of the time there's no way in hell that tackle will be properly rewarded.  It's very annoying, and makes it harder to introduce people to the game when the rules are applied inconsistently.

In the game of Australian Rules Football, there are only two ways to dispose of the ball legally.  That is a) holding the ball in your hand and striking it with your fist a.k.a handballing or b) kicking it.  You are also allowed to punch the ball away from you if it's in the vicinity.  Disposing of the ball by any other means should incur a free kick.  However, this is almost NEVER the case.  Players are constantly dropping the ball in tackles in order to avoid getting pinged.  As far as I am concerned, a drop is as good as a throw - blow that whistle umpy!

The OTHER issue is a little thing known as "Prior Opportunity".  It refers to how long the player had between receiving the ball and the tackle being completed.  If a player takes a mark, ops to play on and is then tackled, that should be a free kick to the tackler, as the tacklee had the opportunity to dispose of the ball in a legal fashion and didn't take it.  If a player is given a 360 spin in a tackle with both hands free, then he deserves to be pinged - he should have handballed it off while he was swinging around. 

Finally, it seems to location of the tackle has a bearing on whether it gets paid or not.  It doesn't.  The rules are the same in the centre square as they are in the goalsquare.  There should be no bullcrap about "the flow of the game".  There is simply a black and white rule that clearly states what the infringements are, and if an umpire sees an infringement upon the rules, then he blows his whistle and a free kick is awarded.  It's time to reward players who do the right thing, and punish the players who break the rules, whether intentionalyl or through their own stupidity - they're professionals, and should know the rules by now.

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