Main content
We are Port Adelaide

Ebert a fan of new rules

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02 : Brad Ebert of the Power during the 2019 JLT Community Series match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Memorial Oval on March 02, 2019 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02 : Brad Ebert of the Power during the 2019 JLT Community Series match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Memorial Oval on March 02, 2019 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

THE AFL’s new starting positions at centre bounces have at least one advocate, with Port Adelaide midfielder/forward Brad Ebert expressing his acceptance of it.

Under the new rules, players must start in designated positions with six players in defence, six in midfield and six in the forward line.

The move was made to ease congestion and open up the game and it has meant teams can no longer flood the defence to halt another side’s momentum.

Some have been critical of the move, which has seen some high scoring matches in the pre-season, but Ebert said he likes it.

“Initially I wasn’t sure about it but the more that we’ve actually been able to play it out and actually see how it works, I think it’s good,” Ebert said during an interview with Adelaide radio station Triple M.

“I think it opens up the congestion in the centre bounce, let’s the midfielders do their thing and it also just creates more of those one-on-one battles like the old days.”

Ebert is enjoying a move into the forward line in 2019, starring with three goals against Adelaide in the club’s opening JLT Community Series match in Port Pirie.

He liked the extra space to move inside 50 at centre bounces but isn’t expecting there to be any other impact to the overall game.

Ebert said the onus was now on players to control the situation given the new restrictions surrounding when and how often runners could be on the field.

“The rest of the play goes back to normal so I don’t know whether (the 6-6-6 starting positions) change zoning defence or anything like that,” Ebert said.

“You can see the defenders are getting pretty close and making sure they don’t allow those extra couple of metres like they would have last year and be reading it a bit from the centre bounce, but we’ll see how it goes.

“It probably comes back to players really owning their spots and being able to nut-out those positions and going ‘I need to win this next one, I don’t have support coming from the bench with the coaches telling us what needs to happen’ – it’s really up to players being able to get it executed on the ground and in those zones.”

One of the other rule changes in the off-season which got people talking over the weekend was the move to limit players delaying 50 metre penalties by penalising them with a further 50 metre penalty.

Twice during the Power’s clash with North Melbourne in JLT2, 100 metre penalties were dished out because the offending player was in the protected zone when the person awarded the free kick sprinted towards the new mark.

Ebert said it appeared farcical at the time with players trying to con umpires into giving them an advantage, but he backed players and the competition to settle after some early jitters.

“The way it was played, it looked silly. You’re going to try and (expose the rule) because you can,” he said.

“They’re trying to create that whole stopping us delaying the game by giving the ball back and then jogging next to them, which I can understand.

“They’re trying to speed it up but then there’s that side of it which is just weird that as soon as the guy runs past and the other guy stays behind it’s another 50.

“It’s one of those rules that they over adjudicate to start the season and then they’ll make amends to it.”