By ZAC MILBANK
SANFL interchange benches will now play host to four players per match as the League also increases its rotation cap to 75 for the 2020 Statewide Super League and Reserves competitions.
SANFL Football Operations Manager Tom Hurley said the increase in the match day squad size to 22 players – already in place in the Torrens University Cup Under-18 competition – would reduce the impact of an injury on the outcome of a match, spreading the load across more players, whilst allowing more of South Australia’s best talent to be exposed at League level.
“Not only does this amendment create alignment with all other state league competitions plus the AFL and provide an additional opportunity for a player at League and Reserves level each week, it minimises the influence of injury or injuries, particularly those incurred earlier in the match,” Hurley said.
It is SANFL’s first interchange adjustment since it increased from two players to three players for the 1995 season.
With the increased match day squad, the SANFL Interchange Rotation Cap will be lifted from the current level of 60 per match to 75 to ensure players will spend a similar amount of time on the interchange per rotation as they did in 2019.
“The introduction of the Interchange Rotation Cap in 2016 has played a role in reducing congestion and, since its introduction, SANFL scoring has compared favourably with other competitions. It was therefore important to strike an appropriate balance when increasing that number to accommodate the additional player,” Hurley said.
For the 2020 season, SANFL will adopt the AFL’s ”3rd Man Up” rule in ruck contests to ensure only two players – one from each team – compete at each stoppage.
SANFL will also align with the AFL’s procedure to offer a warning to any team which transgresses under the 6-6-6 starting positions formation before imposing a punishment of a free kick and 50m penalty for any breach.
The success of SANFL’s Last Disposal Out of Bounds rule, introduced in 2016, will ensure that this remains in force as will the 25m penalty – in comparison to the AFL’s 50m penalty – in recognition of three SANFL venues (Norwood, Unley and Glenelg) being among the smallest in the nation.
Hurley said SANFL’s Last Disposal Out of Bounds had been positive in reducing stoppage numbers whilst creating a faster and higher-scoring style of play.
In the Statewide Super Women’s League, the Anti-Density Policy will remain to reduce congestion and encourage players to showcase their talent.
SANFL’s Umpiring Department will review the enforcement of the Anti-Density Policy after kick-ins, particularly revising the penalty of a breach to a free kick at the 50m line rather than 30m in front of goal.