The New Kick-In Rule

Written by Thommo on February 12 2019

Unless you have spent the past few months living under a rock, you will know that players can now play-on from kick-ins without first playing-on by kicking to themselves. In addition, the defender manning the kick-in now has to stand 10 metres back from the goal square, allowing more room for the defensive player to play-on.

Expect to see plenty of this in 2019…

The new rule has caused much discussion in the Supercoach forums of late so I thought I should depart from my usual programming to briefly discuss the new rule. This rule has already been implemented in the AFLW and so far, the kick-in player seems intent on playing on most of the time. While the AFL players may not be quite so intent on playing-on from the kick-in, the change in the rule makes it likely that the players will play-on far more often than they do currently.

In the AFL Prospectus, Champion Data had a brief look at the impact the rule would have on certain defenders in Fantasy Football. While I won’t reproduce the table for copywrite infringement reasons, I’ll have a quick glance at a few of the key findings of their research.

Champion Data calculated the approximate increase in output that some defenders would achieve if they played-on from the goal square more often. They decided to see what happened to each player’s output if they played on 50% and 75% of the time.

The table below shows some of the main benefactors based on their career kick-in averages from 2016-2018. Please note it shows their match averages for Total Kick-ins per game (KI/gm), Play-ons from Kick-ins (KI Self) and extra SC points made if the player plays on 50% and 75% of the time (50%, 75%):

PLAYER KI/gm KI Self 50% 75%
Shannon Hurn (WC) 6.8 1.6 +5.3 +10.4
Luke Ryan (Fre) 4.5 0.1 +6.5 +9.9
Jayden Short (Ric) 4.1 0.5 +4.6 +7.7
Alex Witherden (Bri) 6.2 2.7 +1.4 +6
Jake Lloyd (Syd) 4.5 1.2 +3.2 +6.6
Nathan Wilson (Fre) 4.3 1.3 +2.6 +5.8
Luke Brown (Ade) 3.5 0.5 +3.7 +6.3
Jeremy Howe (Col) 3.3 0.4 +3.7 +6.2

So as you can see, players get a nice little points boost just as we expected. For that reason, many Supercoaches have decided to include the defenders that take the kick-ins into their Supercoach squads in 2019.

Obviously the players who play-on the most will have the smallest scope for improvement. Keeping that in mind, the following table from Champion Data that appeared in the Herald Sun on February 11, 2019 shows the players who were in the top 50 for kick-in numbers in 2018 and recorded the highest play-on percentage in 2018.

Player Club Matches Kick-ins KI to self KI to self %
Christian Salem Melb 21 44 29 65.9
Heath Shaw GWS 20 84 48 57.1
Bailey Williams WB 14 41 23 56.1
Tom Stewart Geel 21 75 42 56
Kade Simpson Carl 21 98 49 50
Conor McKenna Ess 18 79 37 46.8
Michael Hurley Ess 20 53 24 45.3
Alex Witherden Bris 21 126 52 41.3
Matt Suckling WB 11 34 14 41.2
Shannon Hurn WC 22 129 53 41.1
Jarrod Harbrow GC 22 77 26 33.8
Dan Houston Port 22 77 25 32.5
Jake Lloyd Syd 22 151 44 29.1
Lachie Whitfield GWS 22 55 16 29.1
Brayden Maynard Coll 18 28 8 28.6

Conversely the players who were in the top 50 for total kick-ins in 2018 but were least inclined to play-on included:

Player Club Matches Kick-ins Kick-in to self Kick-in to self %
Robbie Tarrant NM 21 32 0 0
Luke Ryan Frem 20 107 1 0.9
Blake Hardwick Haw 22 42 1 2.4
Lachie Plowman Carl 13 54 2 3.7
Ryan Burton Port 21 67 3 4.5
Jeremy Howe Coll 17 46 3 6.5
Shane Savage StK 18 71 5 7
Scott Thompson NM 22 79 6 7.6
Brad Lynch WB 9 24 2 8.3
Nick Vlastuin Rich 19 25 3 12
Wayne Milera Adel 19 26 4 15.4
Lewis Jetta WC 17 58 9 15.5
Jayden Short Rich 22 94 15 16
Nathan Wilson Frem 21 105 17 16.2

That really makes players like Jayden Short and Luke Ryan appear very attractive, doesn’t it?

Further improvement coming from Short in 2019?

However, we need to be a little cautious with this information because it is assuming that teams will use the same players to take the kick-in this season as in 2018. I’m not sure it will be so simple.

With the added space afforded to the player kicking in from a behind, it seems likely that teams will either employ fast players to play-on from the kick-in and break the lines or long kicking players with cannons for legs to take a few extra steps and unload the ball to the centre square (think Dustin Fletcher). That indicates that defenders like Shannon Hurn and Jake Lloyd will continue to take kick-ins and Sicily will probably take over the Hawks’ kick-in role but there could be some changes at clubs like Fremantle, Adelaide and Melbourne.

The case study by Champion Data indicates that Luke Ryan will have a big jump in his output, but given he rarely plays on (only 3 times in 140 kick-ins), does he become more attacking as Ross Lyon requested, or does Nathan Wilson take over more of the kick-in duties? If he does he will certainly improve by more than the above information indicates but Ryan’s output may stagnate. Similarly, the Crows seem likely to prefer the long-kicking boot of Smith to the safe, but uncreative kick of Brown while Melbourne my return to the penetrating kick of Hibberd ahead of the zippy Salem who is dying to spend more time in the Dees’ midfield.

Is Luke Ryan a beneficiary of the new rules?

In a recent interview Alex Witherden stated that the Lions aren’t even employing a designated kicker, instead running with a first in, best dressed system.

Or so he claims!

Either way, monitor the JLT closely to discover what system each team utilizes for their kick-ins. It could be a boost, or a bust, for your defensive line.

In the comments, let us know any insights you have on how the new kick-in rule will be handled by each team.

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24 thoughts on “The New Kick-In Rule”

  1. Great write up. Thommo ! That is a lot of food for thought, a veritable banquet!! Salem was initially in my side as my quiet POD, he finished the year off strongly and is entering into his 6th season , but his price to point ratio wasn’t that great.Take balls to pick him.

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  2. It’s very interesting and I think we’ll see a lot of changes to how teams structure up in the first few weeks of the season. It may make picking who is breaking out in defence even harder if we see sudden changes from what we’re used to from teams.

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    1. Wow, you must have been burnt pretty badly.
      I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be laughing on not whenever I see you mention him. But i must admit it is entertaining.
      Didn’t you have hibberd or Billings?

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      1. yep i had hibberd and billings but shift them off very early in the year. Ryan i got in late part of the year he gave me crap scores under 70s lasted a few weeks then traded him to Crisp

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    2. The notion of a never again list is one of my major gripes with Supercoachers as it is absolutely ludicrous. With fantasy games a huge element of luck is necessary for a successful performance/ranking whether it’s regrading injuries or avoiding poor scores,etc and a poor run with a single player in one season should not deter you from ever selecting them again.

      For a defender that boasts one of the most Supercoach friendly game styles thanks to his intercept marking, efficient skills by foot, large room for improvement regrading increasing his disposals avg, play on from kick ins, etc and not displaying the typical tendency to be heavily reliant on amassing a large amount of disposals necessary for a 100+ score it seems unnecessary to blacklist L Ryan.

      I held Billings all last year, started M Crouch who lasted 5 and a half quarters before he was traded due to injury, brought Kreuzer in just before his bye who lasted 3 games for an average of 78 and traded in H Andrews only for him to suffer an injury halfway into the first quarter for a score of 22 and then had to be traded out immediately. I’ve never prescribed to the notion of a never again list and dependent on role/price/etc I would happily pick all those players again either this season or in prospective seasons.

      Apart from that another fantastic article Thommo.

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      1. Fair enough with Matt crouch and kruzer they’re injurys can’t be help but Ryan could. over he averged 112 over the space of 6 weeks before i traded him then he went on to give me scores of 53, 68, 47, he can get stuffed.

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        1. how many points did you miss out on the top 10 by Nateo last year? If not by too many, then the points lost on Ryan, I can see why you would say “never again”!!

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          1. Pretty sure it was 150 or so, so with Ryan giving me those crap scores over trading in a Crisp/Brayshaw at the time of Ryan came it i think i would have been top 10 🙁

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      2. The never again list is the same as a locked player. Anyone could get injured or have a positional change. But you do it anyway on good/bad memories and data.

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      3. Well said Adam, Danger and Dusty burnt plenty before their breakouts. Although Dusty burnt everyone again after his breakout so maybe the never again listers were onto something.

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  3. Great stuff Thommo. I did read that over the first weekend of AFLW sides were even changing tactics during the game and over the course of Rd1 teams were tending to just grab (by whoever) and go as it seemed that this provided the greatest advantage. I will admit, I haven’t watched any of it and given guys can probably kick the ball a greater distance (I hope that doesn’t sound sexist), it may have little bearing on tactics regarding SC.

    I for one am ignoring the new rules completely and going for proven guns and those I think are gonna fly regardless of the changes. Put it this way, I won’t be starting Ryan, Witherden or Short even if they ‘show’ over the JLT. Remember, players got sucked into Hibbo over Simmo last year based on those stats and look how that panned out.
    I’ll be using the JLT for rookies, fitness levels and potential mid-pricers with new roles or breakout potential. My 12-14 premiums are locked (rucks included).

    Thanks again.

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    1. I agree with you and BB Allsaints. I won’t consider kick-outs when selecting defenders except when I need help with a “line ball” decision.

      We tend to overthink these things.

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      1. I have Lloyd(gun top overall) Sicily(if he plays a full season top 4) and Ryan(if he’s eliminates his low scores,top 8) so not banking on the kick in to put them up the top, but if it does effect things don’t want to miss out. Mind you if it does nothing I’ll go Ryan to Whitfield.

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  4. Call me crazy but I don’t think it will make that much of a difference. I know everyone’s saying +3/4 for the effective kick, but I think the SC scaling will absorb most of it…, else we’ll have defenders scoring like premo mids!!

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    1. I wouldn’t mind defenders getting a better scoring ratio actually … they get such little reward for their efforts, and the really good ones can virtually single-handedly win games for their clubs (think Rance, Fletch etc) … some evening out in the scoring would be good … and add greater dimension to the SC game …

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    2. Beat me to it.

      Easy to say that adding an extra 5 “statistical kicks” to player X will result in an extra Y points. But the reality is that the total points available per game aren’t changing (to my knowledge), so those points have to come from somewhere else.

      Will Champion Data value a kick-in the same way the would a kick in general play, or will they be worth less because they’re “free” disposals.

      I don’t think we’ll see a significant increase in points from kick-ins, except in those circumstances where line-breaking players are given new opportunities to do their thing from deep in defence rather than lurking around the wings. Might mean a substantial increase in their disposal count and metres gained.

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  5. Damn Thommo there goes all my research / work I was keeping to myself on this topic and with the player choices!!!

    Nice write up mate!!

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  6. Any thoughts on how it will affect the game further afield? As in whether teams will now have set plays for the reception of kick-ins and will this mean the CHF will be targeted more as opposed to just sitting the ball on the ruckman’s head. The main reason I’m bringing this up is I’ve already seen people proposing that the new 6-6-6 rule may make key forwards more sc viable. Perhaps the kick-in rule might further this as key position players with big tanks and strong marking (eg Daniher) might be more involved in play more consistently thus lifting their scoring floor?

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    1. As a few comments have mentioned above, we probably overstate the effect the rule changes will have. I reckon you’ll see a few more ‘set-plays’ from kick-ins and a bit more ball-in-dispute on the wing but I’m not sure scoring will change drastically.

      You might get a few big bags of goals to forwards early in the season but the game always re-adjusts quickly.

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