<
>

AFL boss calls for calm on 'stand' rule

The AFL's new "stand" rule is designed to make life difficult for players like Brisbane's All-Australian defender Harris Andrews.

But the fullback, despite admitting he now feels a "little bit helpless" when standing on the mark, is fine with that and expects it's here to stay after AFL boss Gillon McLachlan called for patience from disgruntled fans.

Fears over the possible implications of the new rule -- which prohibits the player on the mark from moving in any direction -- were heightened over the weekend when footage of a 50m penalty paid against Fremantle's Brennan Cox gained traction.

The defender's head was down as he took a couple of steps away from Oscar Allen as the West Coast forward went back to line up a shot at goal.

The umpire spotted Cox's infringement and the ensuing penalty gifted Allen a goal from point-blank range.

Fans piled on as the footage circulated, but no more than two penalties were paid in any practice game and Andrews said his side had already switched their focus to exploiting the new parameters.

"When the umpire calls stand you're not allowed to move; it's pretty simple I would've thought," the Brisbane defender said.

"There's ways to look into it and gain more 50m penalties, guys who are quick on their feet can (exploit it) and it impacts the way you defend.

"You feel a little bit helpless because usually you're dancing, carrying on over the mark to put them off.

"But it's opened up the game and that's what the AFL and fans want, to see goals kicked."

McLachlan played down the impact of the new law.

"I've been able to stand still pretty well for a lot longer than a few seconds," he said.

"All change is challenging for people, but universally our supporters, players, clubs want more open football.

"I think it was 2000 opportunities for an infringement and seven or eight 50s (penalties).

"We'll always listen but I think we need to be a bit patient on this one because it's gone through a process, it's there in its best intentions and we had teams scoring over 120 points for the first time in a long time."

McLachlan, meanwhile, confirmed the Round 1 clash between Essendon and Hawthorn would not be moved from Marvel Stadium to the MCG as speculated and that other fixtures would remain untouched unless absolutely necessary.

"There's huge knock-on consequences of moving games everywhere ... people will be wrestling with the commerciality all year," he said of the proposed switch that would allow 50,000 spectators instead of about 29,000 under the Victorian government's 50 percent capacity rule.

"Melbourne are playing on the same day and we need to respect the Melbourne membership.

"I understand the extent to which it's been raised, but we're going to stick to the fixture."