IT MAY be an early call after just one round but the new holding-the-ball interpretation is just the injection the congested state of the modern game needs.
Alastair Clarkson's frustrations with the holding-the-ball adjudications after his side's round four win was the first step.
He said the interpretation of holding-the-ball at the time was the primary reason for the decline of the modern game.
Clarkson's anger with the interpretation came after Hawthorn laid 69 tackles against the Kangaroos, not receiving a single free kick as a result of them.
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The four-time Hawthorn premiership coach restated his belief more free kicks for incorrect disposal must be paid and in round five his wish came true.
The AFL last week sent a memo to clubs informing them of stricter interpretations around the rule.
Over the weekend Champion Data noted the 91 holding-the-ball free kicks paid last round was more than 50 per cent higher than the previous season average.
Although it didn't work in Clarko's team's favour, the Hawks were on the wrong side of a 1-10 ledger on Sunday night, it was a step in the right direction.
It made players accountable for holding-the-ball in and absorbing tackles whilst encouraged teams to adapt to using fast hands and quick ball movement to avoid being caught by the opposition.
The stats would say the new interpretation didn't have an effect on scoring with scores per team dropping from 63.7 points in the first four weeks to just 61.6 points in round five.
We need to give the rule time to settle.
The players will adapt and will be looking to avoid giving away a costly free kick anywhere on the ground.
For too long teams have gone unrewarded for strong tackling and this is just one step to break open games.
The next step could be to pin players who have given away a holding-the-ball free for clutching on the ball for slowing the team down from moving the ball on quickly, adding to the congestion.
Subtle shifts may seem radical in the modern game but little things need to be changed to allow for the big change - more scoring and exciting football - to happen.
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