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New Laws 2013
There are 3 new law changes and a number of modifications to interpretations.
The three approved law changes are:   
1. Forceful contact below the knees 
2. Separation of Ruckmen at stoppages. 
3. Umpires to ‘Throw the ball up’ around the ground – Already in the VAFA
Forceful contact below the knees:  
Makes contact with any part of their body with an opposition player below the knees. (This does not apply to smothers with the hands or arms).
These free kicks are an extension of the sliding knees and feet first free kicks, which were introduced during season 2012.  
Players are encouraged to remain on their feet when attempting to take possession of the ball. If players do elect to slide or dive for the ball, they cannot make any contact to their opponent below the knees, otherwise a free kick will be paid. 
Separation of Ruckmen at stoppages  
The Law now requires the ruckmen to be separated by at least 1 metre prior to the ball leaving the umpires hand.  
This is to ensure that the ruckmen’s objective is to play the ball and not the man. 
Umpires will call for ruck nomination if there is uncertainty over who is the designated ruckman at the stoppage for each team. If a team fails to nominate a ruckman in this situation the umpire may award a free kick for failing to follow an umpire’s instruction.
Third man up is still allowable under this interpretation. 
Interpretation changes 2013.
Interpretation changes have also been made for season 2013.
– Stronger protection of the ball player at ground level. – Stricter enforcement of protected area. – Paying free kicks for blocking infringements and interfering in marking contests. – Stricter interpretation of holding the ball. – Free kick against a player for dragging or pushing the ball back under their opponent – as per previous NAB cup trials.  
Protection of the ball player Where a player has won the ball at ground level, the opposition player tackling or contesting the ball must do so in a legal manner. Umpires will be instructed to be diligent and award free kicks against any player who lies on an opponent’s back, who sits on his head or shoulders or makes high contact in any other form.
25 m penalties: Stricter enforcement of protected area 
Marking contests  
Players who make the ball their sole objective in a marking contest will be protected.  Players are permitted to use their bodies in a marking contest, however they cannot push, bump, block, hold or interfere with the arms of an opponent who is contesting the ball in a marking situation. 
Please Note; We do not have the Hands in the Back interpretation in a Marking Contest in the VAFA. 
Holding the Ball  
No prior opportunity – Must make a genuine attempt 
A player, who takes possession of the ball but has had no prior opportunity to dispose of it, will be given a “reasonable opportunity” to make a “genuine attempt” to dispose of the ball when tackled legally. 
Players will continue to be penalized if their arm or arms are free and make no genuine attempt to dispose of the ball.
The player who “drops” “throws” or “places” the ball on the ground without making a genuine attempt to handball or kick will be penalised.
Prior Opportunity 
When a player who is in possession of the ball has had a “prior opportunity” to dispose of the ball and is then tackled legally, he then must immediately and correctly kick or handball the ball.
For clarification, if the ball hits the ground before contact is made with the boot, when attempting to kick the ball, this will be interpreted as an illegal disposal.
Deliberate out of Bounds: 
Umpires will continue to be instructed to penalize players who intentionally handball, kick, carry or force the ball out of play. This includes walking the ball over the boundary line. 
Ruckmen will continue to be penalised for intentionally knocking the ball out of bounds from a ruck contest, regardless of whether the ball crosses the line on the full or bounces prior to crossing the boundary line.
Blocking off the ball in general play: 
In season 2013 illegal blocking off the ball in general play will continue to be a focus of the umpires.
All Players are reminded that they cannot block or interfere with their opponent when they are further than 5 metres from the ball.