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AFL bans third man up at ruck contests

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016

Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge quickly made his disapproval clear after the AFL banned the third man up at ruck contests.

Hodge went on Twitter only a few minutes after the AFL officially banned extra players being involved in ruck duels around the ground.

"No 3rd man ???? Ridiculous," Hodge messaged.

The ban follows an increased use of the tactic, where an extra teammate would jump at a ball up around the ground or a throw in.

The AFL said it decided to ban the tactic after looking at ruck contests over the last two seasons.

"Eliminating the third man up at ruck contests will support the recruitment of tall players and ensure our game continues to be played at the elite level by players of various sizes and differing abilities," AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said.

Only nominated players can now compete in any ruck duel.

The league also announced a stricter interpretation on deliberate rushed behinds.

It has also moved to simplify the interpretation around high-contact free kicks.

Also, the AFL match review panel will crack down on so-called tummy taps next season, with players more likely to be suspended for punches to the midriff.

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