Home Sports Kevin Sheedy urges AFL to introduce 25-metre alternative to 'ridiculous' 50-metre rule

Kevin Sheedy urges AFL to introduce 25-metre alternative to 'ridiculous' 50-metre rule

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Kevin Sheedy urges AFL to introduce 25-metre alternative to ‘ridiculous’ 50-metre rule, which is ‘killing the spirit of the fan’… as stats show the number of penalties this season has DOUBLED from last year

  • Kevin Sheedy has called for AFL to introduce a new penalty in the game
  • Essendon legend believes 50-metre penalties are killing footy
  • Clampdown on dissent, time wasting and ‘stand’ rule has increased penalties
  • There have been 2.8 50-metres penalties per game this year, up from 1.6 in 2021 

Kevin Sheedy believes the AFL must introduce a 25-metre penalty as the 50-metre punishment is ruining the game beyond recognition. 

The AFL has placed renewed emphasis on attempts to speed the game up this season, with players copping 50-metre penalty for wasting time, showing dissent towards the umpires and moving in ‘stand’ situations.

The latter is perhaps the most controversial of all, with a number of players appearing to deliberately fake a handball just to the get their opponents to move and gain a significant territorial advantage.

Kevin Sheedy has called for the AFL to introduce 25-metre penalty as soon as possible

Kevin Sheedy has called for the AFL to introduce 25-metre penalty as soon as possible

The clampdown has resulted in a major increase of 50-metre penalties, with an average of 2.8 per game compared with 1.6 over the course of last season.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Sheedy said it was time for the AFL to introduce a less drastic penalty for relatively minor infringements. 

‘We are not talking about the lack of discipline for a player because they deserve 50m if they abuse an umpire or hit an opponent,’ the former Essendon great said.

‘But I don’t like it when they look at an umpire and its 50-metre.

Bailey Smith (left) gives away a 50-metre penalty in Round 1 against Melbourne

Bailey Smith (left) gives away a 50-metre penalty in Round 1 against Melbourne 

‘And the 50-metre penalties for breaking the stand rule […] If the player fakes a handball it’s got to be play-on.

‘If a player moves a couple of steps it should be 25-metres and not 50-metres.’

The AFL introduced the 50-metre penalty in 1988, but Sheedy believes  the punishment is no longer fit for purpose to penalise some of the infractions it is applied to today.

‘It’s like getting a $500 parking fine for being two minutes over the hour in a car park,’ Sheedy, a four-time VFL/AFL premiership winner as a coach, added.

There has been an average of 2.8 inside 50-metre penalties per game this season, a drastic increase on last season's average of 1.6 per game

There has been an average of 2.8 inside 50-metre penalties per game this season, a drastic increase on last season’s average of 1.6 per game

‘It’s ridiculous. It’s overkill and you’re killing the spirit of the fan.

‘I’m not telling the AFL how to do their job, I’m just saying listen to the people and I know the people hate 50m penalties.’

On Saturday, Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge made his discontent clear over the ‘stand’ rule, which the AFL implemented last season to prevent defenders on the mark from moving side to side.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge slammed the'stand' rule, which resulted in a controversial 50-metre penalty against his team on Saturday

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge slammed the ‘stand’ rule, which resulted in a controversial 50-metre penalty against his team on Saturday

Bulldogs defender Bailey Williams was penalised for backtracking after Richmond small forward Jason Castagna had taken a mark. Williams was hit with a 50-metre penalty, which allowed Castagna an easy attempt at goal, which he duly slotted.  

‘I think clearly the first one [penalty] isn’t there because you’re usually given […] they [the AFL] have told us, two or three seconds to stand,’ he said.

‘Clearly like you guys probably picked up with how we’re defending together, which we like, based on the rule, we’re clearly doing it a different way.

‘If you choose not to man the mark we’ve been told you get that two or three seconds.’

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