Every so often, I hear someone ask “why do you have the AFL rule” or “why can’t you initiate the touch” – for the TRL faithful, these questions may seem a little foreign but for the unacquainted, I can see why they would ask.
So lets start with “why do you have the AFL rule?”. Well if anyone is old enough to remember Willie Carne, or more recently Israel Folau (pre AFL days) you will remember how successful these two players were at taking down cross-field bombs put up by Alan Langer and Darren Lockyer respectively. At the time of TRL’s creation, we wanted to ensure that this tactic was rewarded. If the rule did not exist, the tactic simply would not be exploited as defenders would be able to make the touch before the attacker puts the ball down.
“And what about that rule where you can’t initiate the touch?” (voluntary touch). Well put simply, we want attackers to attack (and we really don’t like Touch Football). Submitting in a touch is like submitting in a tackle (in contact Rugby League). Thus it is deemed a penalty. On a deeper level, the fact we have this rule encourages teams to spread the ball and be creative as opposed to simply rucking the ball up the middle and trying to catch slow, unfit people (i.e. me) napping.
Finally, the old chestnut…”…what’s with the must take kick-off?”. Well sometimes in life you just do things because they are fun. Whether you are getting flogged on the scoreboard or you need to get the ball back in order to level the game, a spiralling torpedo or floating bomb is always great to put up. In many ways the TRL kick-off can be a game within the game. If you are still questioning its necessity after playing a game of TRL, then play a second or third for good measure.