The cap rule explained

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 03 Maret 2013 | 14.43

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says his team are rusty while blasting the AFL's interchange cap.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is no fan of the interchange cap rule. Source: Getty Images

COACHES may not agree with AFL's trial of capping interchanges at 20 per quarter, but they will be well advised to adhere to the rule.

Every time a team exceeds the cap it will effectively hand its opponent a goal.

The interchange steward will count each club's interchanges and when a club gets to 21 the field umpires will be alerted.

An umpire will then award a free kick from the "centre circle or where play has stopped, whichever is the greater penalty'' and then award a 50-metre penalty.

"You'll have a free kick paid against you in the way as if there's an interchange breach for a player entering the ground too early or from way outside the interchange gates,'' a league spokesman said.

It means that any breach will effectively result in the opposition team having a shot at goal.

The 80-interchange cap, which the AFL is trialling during for the rest of this season's NAB Cup matches and has agreed agreed ``in principle'' to introduce in 2014, is designed to drastically reduce the number of interchange rotations per game.

Clubs averaged 119 per match in 2011 but were up to an average of 131 last season.

At the end of last season the AFL's Laws of the Game committee had backed the introduction of a cap - totalling 90 when changes during the quarter and half-time breaks were included - and was critical of the AFL for rejecting its recommendation.

But the players' and coaches' associations, who were both in favour of retaining the three/one interchange mix without a cap, welcomed the AFL commission's decision to take a cautious approach on the issue.

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