It's a rule causing much controversy in the Australian Football League on the eve of the 2021 season, but will we see it implemented in Ballarat footy?
The AFL's new man-on-the-mark interpretation will be implemented in the Central Highlands Football League this season, while the Ballarat Football League expects to know early this week if it too will include the controversial change of law.
The new rules, which have been credited with opening up AFL matches throughout the pre-season, leading to higher scores and less pressure on the kicker, will be part of the CHFL season going forward.
League president Doug Hobson said all clubs had been sent a memo outlining the laws of the game that would be umpired this season, including both the man-on-the-mark law and the new kick-in rule giving defenders an extra five metres on kick outs.
"We had a meeting with the umpires last week, it is going to be brought in for this year," Hobson said. "Generally those rules get changed in the AFL they flow onto us the next year, but this year it will be adopted. It will be a bit different for older players, you will have to temper your manning of the mark a bit now."
He said the new rule would put pressure on umpires, particularly club umpires in junior grades, who will need to adapt to the changes.
"We like to get club umpires to pick it up as when it comes to finals games, we want the umpiring to be at a similar standard to home-and-away games," he said.
"It will look a little bit different, but everyone will adapt to it. I know clubs will be and have been training it. By the time it gets to the start of the season on April 17, there should be little confusion. No doubt coaches and tacticians will come up with new ways to milk it as best they can."
BFNL general manager Shane Anwyl said the league was still seeking clarification on the rules for AFL Victoria, but should be in a position to announce its plans this week.