2020 AFL Grand Final - Richmond v Geelong
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 24: Dustin Martin of the Tigers slips past Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats during the 2020 AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at The Gabba on October 24, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

The AFL is set to implement a number of rule changes for 2021, reports AFL Media’s Damian Barrett.

The competition rules committee met today to discuss the adjustments for the new season, with AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking confirming the changes.

-The interchange will drop from a maximum of 90 rotations in 2020 down to 75. 

“The main reason (for the 75 interchange cap) is to try and open up congestion around the ground. There are a lot of high pressure game styles which have kicked in, the pressure factors have increased, and have been on the increase for five years now, so our belief is we need to put a little bit of fatigue back into the system, and to recalibrate that part of the game and hopefully have the result of opening up the game,” Hocking told AFL Media.

“We will remain open on how that looks for 2022.”

-50m penalties to players manning the mark stepping laterally outside of one meter “level of tolerance”.

“We think that will open up the game, it will open up the 45 (degree angle) pass option, which is the best real estate,” Hocking said.

“We just want more time and space back in the game, the fans are looking for a better balance between defence and attack, and the game has definitely swayed to towards defence.

“My role in that as custodian of it is to make sure the right things are introduced to open the game back up, and to have more Dustin Martin moments that he did in the Grand Final, where he was able to find space, and we would like to create more of those – that’s my role and I’m committed to finding that space.”

-Quarter length will return to 20 minutes plus time on, up from 16 minutes plus time-on in 2020.

Quarter length is expected to return to its normal length, although this is yet to be officially confirmed.

-Location of player standing on the mark from centre of kick off line from kick ins extending from 10 meters to 15 meters.

The second-tier VFL and East Coast competition will undergo the most drastic of rule changes – with zones to be enforced.

Teams will be required to have a minimum number of players to stand in each 50m arc – including one player from each team in the goalsquare – for all kick-ins and boundary throw-ins.

Breaches of these rules will result in 50m penalties.