Marking Contests

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The 2012 Laws of Australian Football DVD explains that in a marking contest:

  • Players who make the ball their sole objective in a marking contest will be protected. 
  • Players cannot push, bump, block, hold or interfere with the arms of an opponent who is contesting the ball in a marking situation. 
  • Players are permitted to use their bodies in a marking contest but are not permitted to use a hand or hands to push an opponent. 
  • Placing a hand or hands in the back of an opponent is also illegal, regardless of the force.

The DVD provides examples of the following situations that were correctly penalised:

  • Interfering with the arms of an opponent (chop)
  • Bump (Tunnel/Shunt)
  • Push Out
  • Unrealistic attempt to mark
  • Hold
  • Blocking
  • Hands in the back
  • High Contact

View the 2012 Laws of Australian Football DVD

The AFL High Performance Umpiring Academy recently discussed and identified the following important factors to consider when assessing and adjudicating marking contests;

  • What was the player’s objective?
  • Was it a realistic attempt to mark or spoil the ball?
  • Was the player looking at the ball in a front on contact situation?
  • Was the contact coincidental?

The academy members identified that the keys to assist in making correct decisions in marking contests are to make a good position with a wide focus or view of the contest. 

Another strategy is to identify the player most likely to interfere.  For example, it is less likely that the player under the ball or in front will interfere so the main focus should be on the player behind. 

In marking contests they also discussed the importance of letting the contest unfold by ‘holding’ the whistle.

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