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Darren Herft: Unpacking the AFL Man on the Mark Rule

Darren Herft is the owner of Darren Herft Sports Central, covering AFL and sharing his insights on the game as it unfolds.

Herft has been featured in dozens of publications to share his insights on the early stages of AFL 2021, and he has already weighed in on the controversial man on the mark rule on FOX 40.

In the interview, Darren Herft said about the rule, “It has been a significant change, freeing up space on the field and it has opened up the game a lot more.”

The new rule states that the defending player will not be allowed to move laterally on the mark and will be forced to stand still when the umpire calls him to stand.

While the AFL has been unwilling to out the person who came up with the concept of requiring the man on the mark to stand still, the rule certainly has opened up a game that previously experienced congestion.

The AFL’s new man on the mark rule has brought about a revamped, to-the-point and perhaps a more watchable game of Aussie Rules Football.

Many are saying that AFL Footy boss Steve Hocking is behind the rule change, and Hocking was quick to jump to defend it, stating that the league’s new ‘stand’ rule is having significant impact on the play in trial matches.

Under this new rule, men on the mark are effectively banned from moving side to side, and this has a tremendous impact on how the game is played and how plays develop.

So, how exactly does the man on the mark rule affect gameplay? Darren Herft has a few insights.

He believes that the rule gives the taller forwards an advantage. Herft says, “The man on the mark rule gives taller forwards more leverage to score, which has been observed in the matches so far.”

“It’s wonderful to see the taller players and forwards being able to have a bit more space and being able to run with the ball a bit more.”

A notable example of a player who has benefitted from this change, according to Darren Herft, is Tex Walker from the Adelaide crows. Perhaps reaching the end of his career, many fans were under the impression that Walker would retire this year.

Walker, however, has far exceeded expectations. He has dominated the field this year, treating fans to a grand performance.

“It’s great to see forwards playing well,” says Darren Herft.

For more information and for the latest news on Australian Rules Football, you can visit Darren Herft’s official sports website.

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