The AFL seems to have caught that which it has been chasing.
The JLT Community series was the testing lab for the new rule that makes it mandatory to have six of its players in each 50-metre arc, for in the centre square at two on the wing outside for the centre bounces.
The desired outcome of having an increase of scoring due to a decrease in congestion is shown scoring up a bit over 10 percent during the same number of preseason games.
The actual figure was 470 goals kicked in 2019 JLT Community games, compared to 420 last season, but the key figure is that of those 50 additional goals, 30 of them came from centre bounces.
The centre bounce is one of the unique aspects of footy and there have been ideas floated of eliminating it, because it does slow things down and the number of bounces during a game and the time of game those bounces took place was the sort of random occurrence that added an element of unpredictability many found appealing.
The league seems to have struck a nice balance.
A historical comparison exists with basketball, which in the early days of the game featured a centre tip-off following each basket. It was possible for a team to score a goal and get the ball right back after a basket, meaning a team that could dominate the tip offs could slaughter a team with lesser proficiency in that area.
The new AFL rule has midfielders looking forward to the upcoming season.
Fremantle Docker midfield standout and perennial Brownlow candidate Nat Fyfe told reporters, I’ve seen there’s a lot of space on the side of the centre circles and I’ve seen players bursting out the front of the square and having long, raking shots on goal. “I think it’s good for players like me who are big midfielders that like the contested work.”