Shock impact of AFL’s new kick-in rule
NEW kick-in rules intended to allow more end-to-end goals have had the opposite effect in a confounding trend across 18 JLT Series matches.
The league is overwhelmingly happy with its suite of nine new rules, with scoring up five points per team on last year's JLT Series, more space around the ground and more scoring from centre breaks.
But despite a 38 per cent increase in players taking advantage of kick-in rules by playing on, statistics indicate it is almost twice as hard to score an end-to-end goal as under previous rules.
In last year's premiership season teams scored twice as many goals defending a kick-in as taking a kick-in end-to-end, 407 goals to 204.
In the JLT Series, there were 42 goals scored defending a kick-in and an alarming nine end-to-end goals - only one every two games.
More than four times as many goals were scored from kick-in turnovers than end-to-end goals in the JLT Series.
The AFL's determination to make it easier for teams to score goals from defence was a key reason for the new kick-in rule but instead it was twice as hard.
The sample size is small and could be corrected during the season proper, with clubs still keeping their powder dry with tactical innovations.
They could also be using deeper defensive zones that concede shorter passes from the kick-in but build a wall across half back and the centre zone.
All of the key movement indicators for kick-ins across the 18 games showed it was harder to move the ball.
The percentage of times the ball went from a kick-in to the opposite inside 50 went down (19.3 per cent to 16.6 per cent), kick-ins to the opposite forward half went down (36.9 per cent to 31.5 per cent).
Kick-ins to scores also went down from just eight per cent in 2018 to 5.2 per cent - only one in 20 kick-ins resulted in a score.
Very few teams tried bold kick-in tactics, with Richmond's Jayden Short one of the rare adventurous players when he took on the man on the mark in the win against Hawthorn.
Collingwood's Darcy Moore took 13 kick-ins and played on from eight, while West Coast's Shannon Hurn took 12 kick-ins and played on from nine.
West Coast's Lewis Jetta played on from half his 12 kick-ins, while Short played on from six of his eight kick-ins.
Stoppages were down in JLT games, with scoring up from 83.1 points per team per game to 88.8 - a rise of 5.7 points.
JLT KICK-INS TAKEN AND TIMES PLAYED ON
Darcy Moore (Collingwood) 13 - 8
Shannon Hurn (West Coast) 12 - 9
Leroy Jetta (West Coast) 12 - 6
Nathan Wilson (Fremantle) 11 - 8
Heath Shaw (GWS) 9 - 3
Daniel Rich (Brisbane) 9 - 5
Jayden Short (Richmond) 8 - 6
Shane Savage (St Kilda) 7 - 5
Christian Salem (Melbourne) 7 - 5
Conor McKenna (Essendon) 7 - 2
Brodie Smith (Adelaide) 7 - 6
Jordan Murdoch (Gold Coast) 7 - 6
Caleb Daniel (Western Bulldogs) 6 - 4
Liam Ryan (Fremantle) 6 - 3
Marty Hore (Melbourne) 6 - 5
Jasper Pittard (North Melbourne) 6 -1
Jackson Thurlow (Sydney) 6 - 4
Hayden Crozier (Western Bulldogs) 6 - 6
Kade Simpson (Carlton) 6 - 6
Ryan Burton (Port Adelaide) 6 - 3