Patrick Dangerfield is happy with the current limitations on runners. Picture: AAP
Patrick Dangerfield is happy with the current limitations on runners. Picture: AAP

Danger’s strong stance on runner rule change

GEELONG superstar Patrick Dangerfield wants the AFL to maintain its tight restrictions on runners in the regular season, saying they unnecessarily congest the field.

The league confirmed on Thursday it will experiment with allowing the runners more access to the field in the Marsh Community pre-season series, to help appease senior coaches.

In the first round of the pre-season competition, runners will be allowed on to the field twice a quarter for a maximum 90 seconds each trip.

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In the final round, they will be allowed into the play three times a quarter for a maximum of 60 seconds each visit.

On top of that, they will also be permitted after a goal is scored, as per last year's regular season rules.

But Dangerfield said there was no need to increase the amount of time the runners spend on the field because they unnecessarily clogged the field.

"I am pretty comfortable with how it is now. I think it is the right balance," Dangerfield said.

"We want players on the ground, we don't necessarily want officials and water boys clogging up and congesting the game.

"Prior to the rule alterations (one year ago) we have been a lot of different people on the ground at one time.

"It has the potential, and did congest the game and slow it down, so I think that has been one change that has been really good."

Patrick Dangerfield is happy with the current limitations on runners. Picture: Getty Images
Patrick Dangerfield is happy with the current limitations on runners. Picture: Getty Images

The league will seek feedback throughout the trial before deciding whether to implement new runner rules for the 2020 regular season.

The Herald Sun understands there are no other rule tweaks the AFL is considering for the new season after shelving plans to reduce the halftime period.

Senior coaches, including Western Bulldogs' boss Luke Beveridge, want more access to the runners, in particular to help coach young players and in crucial periods late in close games.

But Dangerfield said the players didn't need their hands held in games.

"I have enjoyed having less runner interaction and that might be because Nigel Lappin is our runner, and the less time spent with him the better," he said, with a grin.

"It doesn't make too much of a difference for us to be totally honest.

"(It is) Very much a trial as I understand it, so, we will see how we go.

"But I don't think it (pre-season experiment) is definitely going to be implemented for the season proper.

"It's just another little bit of a tinkering with what's the best way to officiate our game."

The league permitted clubs to use signs on the boundary at the start of last season to help pass on messages to players from the bench.

The AFL announced Coles as a new major sponsor for the AFLW competition after signing a five-year deal with the supermarket giant.

The Coles logo will feature inside centre circles for AFL and AFLW matches in 2020.