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Crows query ruck rule, Port with a Power of work to do

Football

UPDATED: Adelaide coach Don Pyke hopes the AFL will review its new third man up ruck rule after yesterday's farcical free kick paid against the Crows.

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The new rule, introduced in December, decrees only one nominated ruckman from each team may contest a stoppage – outlawing the tactic of a third player attempting to come over the top.

But Crows midfielder Dean Gore was penalised in the first quarter of his side’s six-point win over Geelong after a shallow boundary throw-in hit him in the back.

Gore was shadowing Cats skipper Joel Selwood at the time and was watching rucks Rhys Stanley and Reilly O’Brien wrestle at the stoppage when the ball hit him on the full.

“It’s one of the real weird ones of that rule – if the ball hits you as a midfielder, and you’re around the contest, it’s a free kick against,” Pyke said.

“If that led to a goal … I’d hate to see that happen in a big game.

“It seems like one of those things which is a bit of an anomaly, if you like.

“He wasn’t trying to contest the ball – it was just that the ball hit him.

“Maybe it’s something they’ll look at. I’ll leave that with the umpires.”

In that situation, players other than nominated rucks can only take possession at a stoppage if the ball has bounced first – essentially requiring players to stand back and watch.

Or even worse, run away from the ball for fear of giving away a free kick.

Crows defender Luke Brown said today the controversial call could change the dynamics around stoppages, with players less inclined to keep their eyes on the ruck duel.

“Maybe that is something they have to do, keep their eye on the ball a bit more,” Brown told reporters.

“And hopefully the boundary throw-in can be a bit further out, but I can’t see that happening too many times during the year, to be honest.

“If they are going to pay free kicks like that, obviously you have to be a lot more aware of your surroundings and where the ball is going to land… it has to be on the players to know where the ball is going to land as well.”

Two frees were paid for the same infringement in Saturday’s AFL Women’s clash between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs at Princes Park.

In a tight match, the Dogs goaled from a free kick after the throw-in cleared the two nominated rucks and was touched first by a Blues player.

“Our girl … actually ran away from (the ball) and it was the Carlton girl that just naturally tapped it and it’s a free kick in front of goal,” Dogs coach Paul Groves said.

“For us, surely it’s a reset and you go again if the throw’s bad. There’s human error in everything, (but) just reset it – don’t pay a free kick to the girl it fell on in that case.

“That will evolve; the AFL are no doubt having a look at it.”

A young and understrength Adelaide outfit overcome Geelong by six points in a tight, see-sawing pre-season match, beating the winless Cats 1.9.7 (70) to 1.7.13 (64) in warm conditions at Richmond Oval.

Geelong dominated possession early before the home side lifted their intensity in front of 3800 fans.

Adelaide set up the win with a blistering third term in which they kicked five goals to none, before holding off the fast-finishing Cats.

Without experienced ball winners Rory Sloane, Brad Crouch and Scott Thompson, the Crows’ midfield struggled to get their hands on the ball at times, losing the possession count heavily.

But they were accurate and utility Rory Atkins starred with three majors, including a booming supergoal from 60m out.

Matt Crouch (28 possessions) was prolific, Taylor Walker and Charlie Cameron booted two goals each, while draftees Jordan Galucci and Myles Poholke showed glimpses and earned praise from Pyke.

“We saw some guys play their first game for the footy club and they showed some positive signs,” he said.

“They weren’t stellar performers but there were enough signs to show they have the potential to play regular AFL footy.

There were bigger headaches for Port Adelaide, who could lose Jasper Pittard for the start of the AFL premiership season after the influential defender’s hamstring injury in a 28-point trial loss to Richmond yesterday.

The Tigers banked consecutive pre-season wins with a comprehensive 0.11.13 (79) to 0.7.9 (51) triumph in tricky winds at Mt Gambier.

Port, without a win from their two pre-season games, were hampered by the loss of Pittard who limped off the ground in the second quarter and didn’t return.

The rebounding backman will have scans today after being injured when charging into attack – he stopped short and immediately clutched at his left hamstring.

But Port coach Ken Hinkley dismissed any concern over his brilliant forward Chad Wingard, who hobbled off with a corked thigh in the last term.

“Wingard is fine – just a corky. Jasper is the only injury,” Hinkley said.

The Tigers steamrolled Port in the second term, kicking 6.3 to nothing in a game-defining burst.

We know we are nowhere near where we want to be at the moment

“We weren’t able to change the momentum in the second quarter. We allowed them to dominate for far too long,” Hinkley said.

“We know we are nowhere near where we want to be at the moment. We need to stay positive as we work towards how we want to play.”

Richmond boasted prolific ball winners in Brandon Ellis, who gathered a game-high 25 disposals, Anthony Miles (24 touches) and Shaun Grigg (20 possessions), while Dustin Martin and captain Trent Cotchin were dominant early.

The Tigers also had dangerous attackers with Sam Lloyd capping his influential game with three goals and key forward Jack Riewoldt slotting two.

Port couldn’t find a multiple goalkicker but were well served by onballer Ollie Wines (24 disposals), captain Travis Boak (18 touches), Jared Polec (20 possessions) and Hamish Hartlett (17 disposals).

But the Power ultimately paid for their second-term snooze.

Port led by five points at quarter-time but were overwhelmed in the second term, with Richmond’s blitz creating a 27-point advantage for the Tigers at halftime.

Port made some inroads in the third quarter, kicking three goals to one, before the Tigers sealed a convincing win with a solid last term which returned 2.4 to Port’s 0.5.

-AAP

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