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Running out of time? New JLT rule on officials

February 13, 2018 11:59 AM

AFL will trial restriction on runners during pre-season competition. (Photo: AFL Media)

AFL will trial restriction on runners during pre-season competition. (Photo: AFL Media)

RUNNERS will only be able to deliver messages to players after goals and at quarter breaks under a proposed rule change that could be implemented in this year's premiership season.

The AFL confirmed on Monday the use of runners would be restricted during this month's JLT Community Series.

As part of the AFL's trial, runners will only be allowed to run on to the ground after a goal has been signalled and during the quarter-time, half-time and three-quarter time breaks.

When runners come onto the ground during a quarter, they must be off – or at least making their way off – the playing surface, by the time the ball is bounced to restart play.

JLT Community Series: When's your team playing?

AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking told AFL.com.au the trial had come about after the League had meetings with all 18 clubs, including their senior coaches and football chiefs.

"We talked about the runners and there was a range of different versions that were discussed as far as their involvement within the game, and where we've landed is a reflection of those discussions and we'll trial that during the JLT series," Hocking said.

"It is really about testing how runners are used and how effectively the clubs can use them within that time-frame after a goal."

Hocking said the League would seek further feedback from the clubs after the JLT series before making a decision on whether the proposed rule changes will be implemented in the premiership season.

The AFL's trial comes in the wake of last year's controversy surrounding Greater Western Sydney runner Nick Maxwell.

Concerns were raised after the Giants' round 12 game against Carlton that Maxwell had been blocking space when the Blues were kicking out and coached players on the field rather than passing on messages from senior coach Leon Cameron.

The Giants angrily denied these suggestions, but AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan subsequently said the League would consider banning runners ahead of the 2018 season.