Tough tackles in AFL spotlight

High tackles are in the AFL’s sights for the 2016 season, with heftier punishments likely for tackles that threaten the head.

Tackles with a lifting, slinging or rotating technique will come with a stricter adjudication from umpires.

The match review panel will also enforce a stricter definition of dangerous tackles which cause forceful high contact.

The league will also be able to appeal if a match review panel punishment is deemed too lenient.

A pair of high tackles brought the issue to the fore in 2015, when similar tackles from Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs and Port Adelaide’s Jay Schulz drew different results.

The AFL wrote to all clubs to advise of the AFL Commission decisions on Thursday.

In other rule changes, Matt Suckling and Lance Franklin are likely to be the beneficiaries of an extension to the protected area around the mark.

The ex-Hawthorn pair have pronounced arcing run-ups when kicking for goal from the set-shot, and will not be waved to play-on when they deviate from a straight approach.

Umpires try to find more deliberate out of bounds decisions with a tougher stance on players looking to find the line.

AFL operations boss Mark Evans said the AFL believed these changes would improve the game more than radical shifts.

“Tighter interpretations in the areas of dangerous tackles, boundary line play and the protected area for the player with the ball will deliver an effective result for how the game is played and how it looks next season,” he said.

AFL players that make intentional contact with an injured player will also be fined.

The AFL previously advised of the biggest rule change for 2016; the abolition of the substitute and the introduction of a 90-rotation interchange cap.

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