Hands in back rule frustrates Magpies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hands in back rule frustrates Magpies

By Adam Cooper 11/06/2007 07:45:14 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse will instruct his players to run backwards into opponents to combat the hands-in-the-back rule which frustrated his side in the AFL loss to Melbourne.

Malthouse said his forwards became gun shy towards contesting marks at the MCG because they were repeatedly penalised for putting their hands on their opponents' backs in the game, which the Demons won 13.16 (94) to 11.15 (81).

Anthony Rocca typified the Magpies' confusion in giving away six free kicks in his own dirty day, while Travis Cloke and Chris Bryan were also caught on the wrong side of this season's rule introduced at the start of the 2007 season.

Collingwood's frustration reached boiling point early in the last quarter, when Melbourne's Russell Robertson held out Alan Toovey with his hands, took a mark and booted a goal.

That goal, Robertson's fifth of a match-winning haul of seven, put the Demons eight points up and helped Melbourne post their second win of the season, but their fourth straight over Collingwood on the Queen's Birthday holiday.

The game was marred by several questionable decisions, as three goals came in the second quarter via the deliberate out-of-bounds rule, while Collingwood scored a goal late after Melbourne's Brock McLean was penalised for time wasting.

Malthouse said Collingwood's forwards struggled in one-on-one contests, and moved out of position because of the decisions being made by umpires Scott McLaren, Stefan Grun and Scott Jeffery.

Malthouse noted how Robertson was awarded his crucial mark.

"We seemed to be penalised a fair bit from those one-on-ones and as a consequence, it meant that players were too far back (or) too far forward trying to eliminate any mistakes that were perceived," he said.

"I would like to think that a goal scored late in the game may have been a reflection of the way the rule is. Robertson's goal was probably very similar to a lot of our attempts to mark."

Robertson said the umpire told him he had pushed Toovey in the arm and not in the back.

But in the latest criticism of the rule by an AFL coach, Malthouse said he would instruct his players to back into opponents so they forced opponents to make contact by trying to prevent being run into.

"If that's where it's (the new rule) taken us to, then we're going to have to do that," he said.

"If we are technically right with the rule, then that player, even though he is out of position, is going to get a free kick every time. Or should do. 'Should', that's the appropriate word.

"I don't know if we want that or need that ... I just think we're creating an unnecessary monster."

Malthouse was also critical of the deliberate out-of-bounds rule, which led to two Melbourne goals and one Collingwood major in the second quarter.

Malthouse said that rule put pressure on umpires because it forced them to interpret a player's intentions.

"I'm mystified, as a lot of people are, on some that get by and others don't," he said.

"It's very difficult. Once we start to interfere with the rules we are going to put pressure on people who are in charge of the game and when you've got that happening, do they respond or don't they?"

In the game's other notable umpiring decision, McLean was penalised for throwing the ball at a plastic chair inside the fence after it ran over the boundary line.

He was then slugged a 50-metre penalty after arguing the point, which led to a goal for Collingwood's Ben Johnson.

Melbourne coach Neale Daniher was disappointed at McLean's temper tantrum late in the game, when Collingwood were still within reach, but refused to discuss the decision.

"I was really concerned it could risk the game, but it didn't," Daniher said.

"But he needs to learn from that."

Asked if the decision was correct, Daniher was clearly mindful of being again fined by the league this season.

"Do you want me to criticise the umpires?" he said.

"I get a bit angry when you ask these questions, but I've just got to hold my anger so I don't get sucked into answering them."

The free kick finished 24-21 in Melbourne's favour.

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