Hostplus League

2024 SANFL Tribunal and Rule Changes

Glenelg's Cam McGree and Sturt's Lachlan Burrows contest the bounce in the 2023 Hostplus SANFL League Grand Final. Under new rule changes, rucks will be permitted to use a ''straight-arm block'' in contested situations this season.


SANFL has introduced changes to its Match Review Panel system for the 2024 season after they were approved by the South Australian Football Commission.

The majority of MRP changes will be implemented across all grades of SANFL’s Men’s and Women’s competitions, together with an adjustment to a Laws of the Game interpretation relating to rucks.

See below for the changes in 2024.


Early Guilty Plea Structure

Under the new MRP structure, a fee will apply to senior Men’s ($400) and Women’s ($200) players wishing to challenge their MRP decision at the SANFL Tribunal, as opposed to risking an extra week of suspension.

If the challenge at the Tribunal is successful, the fee will be refunded to the club while the player will either be found not guilty or have a lower penalty due to a downgrading of their classification.

Severe Impact Gradings

When a player receives a Severe Impact classification, the MRP will now have the discretion to offer a prescribed sanction with an early guilty plea, rather than automatically sending the matter directly to the SANFL Tribunal.

If deemed necessary, the MRP will still retain the option of directly referring an incident with Severe Impact classification directly to the SANFL Tribunal.

Smother Rule

In line with the AFL’s recent adjustment, SANFL players who decide to leave the ground to smother the football but make contact with an opponent with a Low Impact classification will now have their matter graded as Careless at a minimum.

The MRP will still take into account whether the player has taken reasonable steps to avoid contact or minimising the force of the high contact.

Run Down Tackles

Run Down Tackles will be added to the MRP’s guidelines in terms of reportable offences, if they are deemed to be dangerous in nature where the player has been driven into the ground with excessive force.

Striking - Fend Off

Players who opt to ”fend off” their opponent either in possession of the ball or in attempting to gain possession, will now receive an Intentional classification as opposed to Careless, if the action is deemed forceful enough to warrant a report for Striking.

Ruck Contests

In an adjustment to the Laws of the Game, rucks will be permitted to use a ”straight-arm block” when contesting a ball-up, provided they are contesting the ball and not solely attempting to block an opponent from joining the contest.

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