Geelong is looking towards the AFL’s senior umpires to aid them in understanding and utilising the league’s rule changes for 2019 through a series of match simulations and scratch matches early next year.
The Herald Sun reports that the Cats believe they can use the rules to benefit some of their key position players, and will use the help of umpires to ensure they are ready to adapt to the new look of football in 2019.
Star forward Tom Hawkins stands to gain from the alteration to the hands-in-the-back rule, which will now allow forwards to hold their ground in marking contests with the use of their hands.
The new loosened kick-out rules could work to the advantage of players like Irish defender Zach Tuohy, who will be able to take the ball out of the goalsquare without touching the ball to his foot.
All AFL clubs have permission to play unofficial scratch matches against other teams before the beginning of their JLT Community Series commitments with the held of AFL umpires, which Geelong and many other clubs will employ strategically to acclimatise to the changes and work the new rules to their advantage.
Geelong CEO Simon Lloyd said that AFL umpires had an “increasingly important role in working in conjunction with clubs”.
It’s hoped that the rule changes will ease congestion from the game and result in higher-scoring and more exciting games.