“Our players and fans are very excited about the coming season, with two new teams in an exciting fixture, and rule changes that will encourage good football,” Ms. Livingstone said.

Rule changes that were approved by the AFL Commission last month were tabled at the AFLW Competition Committee meeting today.

The AFLW and AFL competitions are governed by the Laws of the Game and are played under the AFL Rules. When there is an adjustment to the AFL Rules, these rules apply to the AFLW.

Following the approval of the AFL rule changes, further governance was required to introduce specific AFLW rules.

The AFLW will be adopting eight of the nine AFL rules changes in 2019:

Traditional Playing Positions at Centre Bounce (5,6,5)

Implementation of a traditional set up at centre bounces – Clubs must have five* players inside both 50-metre arcs, with one player required to be inside the Goal Square. Four midfield players are positioned inside the Centre Square with the Wingers required to be placed somewhere along the centre square Wing.

(* AFLW plays 16 players a side)


For Kick-Ins from a Behind, a player will no longer need to kick to herself to Play On out of the Goal Square.

Following a Behind, the player on The Mark will be positioned 10 metres from the top of the Goal Square (currently 5 metres).

Marks / Free Kicks:

For all Defenders who take a Mark or gain a Free Kick within 9 metres of their own Goal, the player on The Mark for the attacking team will be brought in line with the top of the Goal Square.

Umpire Contact

Players will be prohibited from setting up behind the Umpire at each Centre Bounce.

50-Metre Penalty

Stricter on the infringing player, allowing the player with the ball to advance The Mark by 50 metres without the infringing player delaying the game.

In addition, the player with the football will be able to play on during the advancement of the 50-Metre Penalty.

Kicking for Goal post-siren – Centre of Goal Line

A player who has been awarded a Mark or Free Kick once play has ended will now be able to kick across their body using a Snap or Check-side Kick. The player shall dispose of the football directly in line with the player on The Mark and the Goal.

Marking Contest

‘Hands in the Back’ rule interpretation to be repealed, allowing a player to place her hands on the back of her opponent to protect her position in a marking contest but not to push the player in the back.

Ruck Contests – Prior Opportunity

A Ruck player who takes possession of the football while contesting a bounce or throw up by a field Umpire or a boundary throw in by a boundary Umpire, will not be regarded as having had Prior Opportunity. Where there is uncertainty over who is the designated Ruck, the Ruck for each Team will continue to nominate to the field Umpire.

Rules specific to AFL Women’s:

Runners and Water Carriers

The AFLW will still allow runners and water carriers to enter the Playing Surface during live play due to warmer weather conditions during the summer months and the extra instruction the players require during the match. 

Last Disposal between the arcs

Adjusted from 2018, the last touch rule now applies between the 50 metre arcs. When the football crosses the boundary line within the 50 metres arcs, it will be thrown in. 

Throw Ins to be brought in 10 metres

All Boundary throw ins will take place 10 metres from the boundary line

During trials when the ball was thrown in deeper into the corridor, more space was created around the ruck contest and there were fewer second stoppages.

Ms Livingstone said that the Game Analysis Team had looked carefully at data and trends from our first two seasons to help format adjusted rules.

“All the rules we have adopted have been trialled at both NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and VFLW matches with findings and recommendations communicated with the AFLW Competition Committee throughout the year.

“Our coaches have already been briefed on the rules and will be working with the players during the pre-season in the coming weeks.

“I thank the AFLW Competition Committee for their assistance in this process and the Game Analysis Team lead by Brett Munro.”

The AFLW Competition Committee members:

Simone Wilkie             AFL                             Commissioner
Nicole Livingstone      AFL                             Head of Women’s Football
Steve Hocking            AFL                             GM Football Operations
Brett Murphy               AFLPA                        GM Player & Stakeholder Relations
Phil Harper                  Adelaide Crows          GM, Football Administration
Lauren Arnell              Brisbane Lions            AFLW Player
Cain Liddle                  Carlton                        CEO
Kara Donnellan           Fremantle                    AFLW Player
Mark Evans                 Gold Coast Suns        CEO
Alan McConnell          GWS Giants                AFLW Senior Coach
Todd Paterson            Melbourne                   AFLW List Manager
Laura Kane                 North Melbourne         Football Operations Manager
Peta Searle                 St Kilda                       AFLW Senior Coach
Debbie Lee                 Western Bulldogs       Women’s Football GM