Fears that the specky could be outlawed

March 1, 2024 BY

Endangered: There are fears the high mark might disappear from the game depending how a rule change in the 2024 season is applied. Photo: MICHAEL DODGE/ AAP IMAGE

SOME AFL fans are concerned that the ‘specky’ could soon be outlawed as the league tries to protect the heads of their playing cohort.

Those fears come after the AFL made a rule change that would see players banned if they leave the ground to smother and collect a player high.

If that rule existed in 2023, Collingwood’s Brayden Maynard would have been suspended for his hit on Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw in last year’s Qualifying Final.

Brayshaw was medically retired following the incident with the ex-Dee having a long history of concussions.

While some were worried that players could be banned in 2024 if they hurt an opposition while trying to take a hanger, SEN’s Dwayne Russell said that the rules already account for incidents where players aren’t genuinely attempting a mark.

“If you’re attempting to win a free ball in a marking contest, you’re allowed to jump in a marking contest to win the ball,” Russell said on SEN Afternoons.

“If you jump in a contest with no intention to win a ball, then you’re in a lot of trouble.

“We saw Eric Hipwood suspended a couple of years ago for jumping in a marking contest, theoretically to attempt to mark, but he wasn’t actually attempting a mark.

“So, you can’t jump into a marking contest and theoretically say, ‘Oh, I actually was going for the mark’, you have to be realistically attempting the mark.

“You can’t go in with an attempt to stick your knee into somebody.

“But if you’re 100 per cent focused on winning the ball in a marking contest, you’re allowed to go for the ball with your eyes on it.”

Given that rules already state that players can’t launch at the footy without trying to mark the ball if they hurt an opposition player, Russell said he thinks it’s a “load of garbage” that the specky will become extinct.

Russell said he can never see huge hangers being outlawed from the game given how integral it is to Aussie rules.

“It’s not grey for me at all that one,” he said.

“Those people that want to talk about the marking contest, and that they’re going to take the marking contest away, that to me is a load of absolute garbage.

“People run that one by the flagpole, but I’m pulling that one down the flagpole.

“If you are 100 per cent focused on winning the ball in a marking contest with your eyes 100 per cent on the ball in the marking contest, then you are legally allowed to go up and accidentally make contact with someone’s head.

“I don’t think they’ll ever take that out of the game.”