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Naitanui gets the jump on his rivals

Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui soars over his opponent at a centre bounce.

Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui soars over his opponent at a centre bounce. Photo: Paul Rovere

ON THE day when the AFL introduced a rule that banned contact between ruckmen until the ball had left the umpire's hand, a former senior coach reached the same conclusion as many others: He called it ''the Nic Naitanui rule''.

By that, he believes the the rule will be highly advantageous to West Coast's athletic ruckman, who can jump 205-centimetre opponents in a single bound.

''The new rule will go down as the Nic Naitanui rule,'' he said, recalling the advent of a small centre circle had conspired against another ruckman who relied on his leap, Melbourne's Jeff White, who no longer had the long run-up he needed for lift-off at centre bounces.

Naitanui's leap is so imposing that opponents have devised a range of tactics to prevent him from having a clear jump at the ball in centre bounces and ball-ups around the ground this year. Sydney's Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke used a physical approach to successfully stymie his jump in round 16 that prompted Naitanui to complain that he was being illegally impeded.

But the new rule, in theory, should make it easier for Naitanui to jump, since his opponents cannot make contact until the umpire has released the ball. (And he will throw it up now in general play.) Centre bounces should change less, since ruckmen are not supposed to cross the line until the ball is bounced.

''It's going to favour taller ruckmen who can jump,'' said Carlton football operations head, Andrew McKay, who worked as the AFL's game analyst last year and was the conduit with the clubs and players on the rules.

''It's going to favour Naitanui and a [Robert] Warnock type who is taller and can jump a little bit.''

McKay reckons the motivation for the change is to improve the spectacle of ruck contests, since the AFL does not want excessive wrestling. ''The spectacle will be better … the new rule is purely aesthetics.''

If Naitanui will be harder to combat, as many believe, the corollary is that the wrasslin' rucks, such as Mumford and Darren Jolly, might need to revise their methods.

Jolly made it plain in February that he did not like the new rule when it was tested in the NAB Cup. ''I hope they don't bring in the stupid rule that they're trying to bring in now … because that's just a joke,'' he said, acknowledging the rule worked against physical ruckmen of his ilk.

Brad Ottens, like Jolly, was a consummate ''power'' ruckman who deployed his strength and considerable weight to overwhelm opponents in three premierships for the Cats. Ottens, who is a part-time ruck coach with the Cats, said the rule would probably favour the leapers like Naitanui and ''agile'' rucks generally, but the burly followers such as Jolly and Mumford were good enough to adapt.

''I think ball-ups are where it's going to affect things the most,'' he said.

Not everyone reckons the rule is made for Naitanui. One Victorian official said the key would be getting ''pole position'' for ball-ups and throw-ins.

''Whoever gets there first has a huge advantage,'' he said.

This wouldn't necessarily hand the jumper such a huge edge. But getting to position first meant the ruckmen had to move quickly. ''Ruckmen who can't run are in trouble,'' the official said.

There isn't a rule, trend or game style, mind you, that helps any player who struggles to run. The question is whether this one is devised for the ruck guys who can jump.

84 comments so far

  • Of course this will help at ball ups to the Nic Nat Rule, Just another way for the AFL to try and keep the premiership out of Victoia. I have no issues with the national competition, but at least have everyone on a level playing field. To introduce this rule in the middle of a draft period when clubs have already tried to identify their needs for the future shows clear rudderless management from the top. These things should be identified and introduced at least one year after announced to give clubs the opportunity to review the effect on their list. This should not come in to play until 2014 if it is going to. Dont agree with it anyway as I believe the holding the ball rule change / interpretation will eliminate a lot of the congestion.
    Does Demetriou know the meaning of Strategic planning. Because this looks like change on the run - again

    Commenter
    hawker of hobart
    Date and time
    October 17, 2012, 3:34PM
    • Seriously dude you are not watching the same game as the rest of us. The afl want nothing more than to have Victorian premiers if they wanted non vic teams to win they would force all vic teams to travel out of vic 8 times a year as there are 8 non vic teams, but no they left 5and 6 times this year which by the way is a record for any vic team. Even the Hawkes who left vic to play 4 home games in vic only played 4 non vic games this season. In 2006 the afl changed many rules that the likes of Brisbane, Sydney, west coast and port were major losers from the change, hence five years of vic team dominating the comp, you may have noticed that in this years gf Hawkes won free kicks 21 to 10 hence their extra scoring shots. That game was never meant to be won be the mighty swans. Afl want to build a national comp that gives non vic sides hope but one where they rarly win the cup, it is time vfl supporters relise it is a national comp and non vic sides who are disadvantage through travel and players not wanting to play for non vic clubs because there no fame, among much more.

      Commenter
      AndrewJamesUbyr
      Date and time
      October 17, 2012, 4:33PM
    • What a load of cods-wallop

      The rules are the same for everyone. This is about the 10th excuse I've heard from a Hawks fan in recent weeks

      Need a tissue Mr Hawthorn supporter?

      Commenter
      Johnny
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 17, 2012, 4:51PM
    • well andrew, you have really excelled here with your logic. if everyone played twice they would play home and away so would travel 8 times. but they dont. Sydney get 11 home games out of 22 which is very good for gate money as they keep the gate. All teams get 11 home games which is fair. Now if every vic team had to travel 8 times as you propose that would mean every interstate team would get 14-15 home games. National comp means travel mate. You are also well compensated getting the bye of GWS twice EVEN THO the AFL just said top 4 will only play bottom 4 once next year EXCEPT SYDNEY

      Commenter
      hawker of hobart
      Date and time
      October 17, 2012, 8:37PM
    • johnny johnny johnny - you miss the point. I am emphasising that the AFL are changing rules in the middle of a draft period after ALL clubs have set their strategy about recruiting. Now that changes with the new rule. I noted that there should be 12 months before the introduction. That would give ALL club the chance to recruit/develop players to counter the teams that already have the type of players suited to the new rule. There is no doubt sydney are disadvantaged by it. and the Perth sides are perfectly placed.

      Commenter
      hawker of hobart
      Date and time
      October 17, 2012, 8:40PM
    • Can anyone tell me if the new rule applies to boundary throw ins as well? This is where most of the physical stuff occurs. Cheers

      Commenter
      Pedro
      Location
      The Outer
      Date and time
      October 18, 2012, 2:08PM
    • @johnny, yes i do need a tissue. with the warmer weather ive had to forgo my michael tuck long sleever and ... well sniff sniff... what was sammy thinking? how did that ball not go through the goals from capt jacks boot? was cliffy young wearing long stops or did he just fall over? sob sob, i think a nice aloe vera scented tissue might just do the trick, for the moment anyway... Oh why, Oh why.

      Commenter
      hawks
      Location
      200k north of Hawthorn
      Date and time
      October 18, 2012, 5:16PM
    • I'm all for the national competition but as a condition on enetering what was the VFL, there should be a moratorium on interstate tems winning the premiersip. As a St.Kilda supporter, who has never seen a Grand Final win, I can't help but do the maths of one flag in a 12 team competition over 90 odd years; now there are 18 we should be due in another 100 (given the 20 years of 14 and 16 teams). So we'll claim the '97 flag and Adelaide can just wait their bloody turn.

      Commenter
      David
      Location
      Spain
      Date and time
      October 19, 2012, 1:37AM
  • Mark Blake, all is forgiven, please come back and play in the AFL! The rule has been changed just for your type of player!

    Commenter
    Paul
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    October 17, 2012, 3:43PM
    • For all this talk of the 'Nic-Nat rule' and a 'years notice' being the requirement by the clubs, it seems the tall/ruck/KP is the minority at this draft, as it will be at any draft. Clubs draft who they can get their hands on, not their ideal choice for the changing style of AFL in 2-3 years time. A Leaping Ruckman, who would have ever thought ! It must be precious pumpkin time.

      Commenter
      Groote
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      October 18, 2012, 12:57PM

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AFL 2016

Round 1
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RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
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GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
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Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
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GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
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Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
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NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
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Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
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GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
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Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
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Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
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BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
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Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
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STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
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ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
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CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
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Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
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COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
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MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
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Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
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BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
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CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
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Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
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COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
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STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
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BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
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SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
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Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
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COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
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GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
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GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
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Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
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Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
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Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
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Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
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AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
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