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Substitute rule is adopted

Murray Football League will introduce the substitution rule next season after delegates voted to adopt the rule on Monday night.

DAMEN FRANCIS December 11, 2013 4:10am

Coloured vests will be a new addition to Murray Football League next season.

League delegates voted unanimously to adopt a variation of the AFL substitute rule at Monday night’s annual general meeting, with a focus on promoting youth players at senior level.

Under the rule, each senior team is permitted three interchange players and one substitute player, who must be an under-17s player that has played for the club earlier on the same day.

The substitute must wear a fluro yellow vest over his playing guernsey and the player he replaces will don a red vest to signal he can take no further part in the game.

The move follows the introduction of a similar policy by Picola District Football League last season.

MFL general manager Dale Norman said it had been in the works for some time, having first been raised by Deniliquin president Scott Barlow at a meeting in March last year.

‘‘It’s not an all-of-a-sudden decision, it first came up when the AFL brought it in (in 2011),’’ Norman said.

‘‘It was perhaps a lack of preparedness to present it to the executive that meant it’s only come in now.

‘‘It certainly opens up opportunities for under-17s players to have a crack at senior footy, which is great for the league.’’

Teams are limited to a single substitution a game, but the substitute may be temporarily activated for up to 20 minutes, while a team-mate undergoes a concussion test.

Norman expected the growing awareness of the potential effects of concussion on footballers to be reflected at local level sooner than later.

He said the league would back its clubs to enforce concussion rules.

‘‘The concussion test is in vogue at AFL level and clubs have full trust in their head trainers to decide if a player returns to the field,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Tongala’s newly redesigned playing guernsey was ratified, with the club to wear white shorts and navy socks with a blue turnover for games against Numurkah and Finley.

Next season’s fixture has also been approved.

Highlights include a grand final rematch between Echuca United and Mulwala in round 11, four Good Friday games in round two, two league-wide byes coinciding with the AFL Victoria Country Championships on May 24 and 25 and an AFL Vic Country v AFL Vic Metro game on July 12 and no club byes, following Tocumwal’s move to PDFL.

Norman was re-signed for two years, while John Hawkins, Peter Limbrick, Chris Drum, Wayne Deledio and Greg Watmore were re-elected to the executive, with Hawkins returning for a sixth term as president.

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