“Stand” rule introduced for CAFL Season 2023

CAFL (Mens) Season 2023 will see the introduction of the previously controversial but now widely accepted “stand” rule, when players are standing the mark of an opponent who has been awarded a free kick or a mark in general play. 

The CAFL Committee debated this rule being introduced at a recent meeting with the majority of committee members being in favour of it being included this season.

The advantages of the rule are:

– It cleans up a messy area of the game where some players back-off and rush forward blurring the line of where they are supposed to stand the mark. Some even crashing into the kicker after the kick ;

– Avoids dangerous frontal contact ;

– Makes it obvious where the man on the mark is supposed to stand and what to do, particular for new players to CAFL ;

– Opens up the angles for the kicker as the man-on-the-mark cannot slide east-west ;

– Players are still able to still jump up and down on the mark, they just cannot move sideways, forwards or backwards (see further details below) ;

– Allows the kick to be moved quickly up the field into new space.

Overall, the intent of the rule is to allow the kicker decent space to move the ball cleanly and have general play restart and continue as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Once an attacking player has been awarded a mark or free kick by the field umpire, the defending player can choose to retreat 5m or Stand-the-Mark.  Standing-the-Mark means just that – they cannot move forward, backwards or sideways until the attacking player has kicked the ball, handballed or the umpire has called “PLAY ON”.  The onus is on the umpire to watch the attacking player and if they step off their line the umpire will call “PLAY ON” and the Man on the mark is free to join general play.  The penalty for moving off the mark prematurely is 50m.

CAFL umpires have indicated they will exercise common sense and a little leniency in the early rounds of the season to assist players adjust to the new rule, and will only enforce a 50m penalty in the most dire of circumstances.

To assist coaches, players and clubs understand the rule and include it in their education of players at both training nights and on game days, CAFL field umpires have offered to attend a training session of each club prior to Rd 1.  Ideally this will allow any confusion to be addressed and for a smooth and trouble-free start to the 2023 season to be had by all.

There is also a video link below for additional educational purposes.

STAND Rule explained

CAFL-W 2023 season will not have this rule introduced, with the women’s competition still in the early stage of growth and education of all rules for its players.