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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

    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.

      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?

      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

      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.

      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

      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.

      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.

      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!

    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.

      Date and time
      October 18, 2012, 12:57PM

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AFL 2015

Round 1
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MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
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RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
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GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
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Round 3
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COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
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HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
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BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
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MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
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Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
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Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
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