The Crows' Sam Jacobs and Port Adelaide's Patrick Ryder contest a ball-up during their teams' round eight clash last year. Picture: David Mariuz/AAP
The Crows' Sam Jacobs and Port Adelaide's Patrick Ryder contest a ball-up during their teams' round eight clash last year. Picture: David Mariuz/AAP

Veteran says new AFL rules put ruckmen in the hot seat

RUCK mastery will be more important than ever under new AFL rules, Adelaide's Sam Jacobs says.

Jacobs, one of the league's leading ruckmen, believes the new rule designating starting zones for players puts a greater emphasis on his craft.

The AFL will introduce rules this season where six players from each team must start in the attack, centre and defensive areas.

"All it will do is put more of a premium on centre bounce (ruck contests)," Jacobs told reporters on Tuesday.

"We have had a good look at it over preseason, the coaches have been good and put it in the hands of the players a bit to see what we think.

"There's definitely a lot more space in the midfield ... it's going to be a really good challenge for guys, it'll put a lot more pressure on the ruckmen.

"It's just more of a premium on hitouts - it's going to be important you get that connection."

Jacobs said the new rule would work to the advantage of explosive midfielders such as Brownlow medallists Patrick Dangerfield from Geelong and Nat Fyfe from Fremantle.

And the 30-year-old Crow believed the greater midfield space would ultimately produce higher scoring as it benefitted fast entries into attack.

"There will be a lot more scoring as you'll be able to get deeper entries from centre bounces," he said.

"So it's going to be tough if you lose two or three (centre ruck contests), the pressure is going to mount.

"But I think it's going to be really good for the game."

- AAP

News Corp Australia

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