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Leigh Matthews explains how slashing the 50-metre arc in half could ease congestion

AFL great Leigh Matthews says slashing the 50-metre arc in half could be the solution to the ongoing congestion in AFL games.

Speaking on Sportsday, the 3AW Football commentator explained how a 25-metre zone at each end could be beneficial to the flow of the game and take away the “given goal” that often follows a 50-metre penalty.

“The 50-metre line has never been anything more than cosmetic until the 6-6-6 rule came into the game,” Matthews said.

“What if you just had a 25 metre line? That would mean at a stoppage, maybe you can make sure that one pair of players are actually back inside each 25-metre line.”

The other advantage of 25-metre arcs, according to Matthews, is to take away the “massive penalty” that a team concedes when giving away a 50-metre penalty.

“In modern footy, players rort the rules so well, the 50-metre penalty is very important to make sure they don’t do that. But a 50-metre penalty forward of centre is almost a certain goal and it’s a massive penalty more so than it should be. I thought to myself: What if you put the man on the mark on the 25-metre line for a 50-metre penalty. In other words, that’s a close to goal as a 50-metre penalty would take you. It’s a very kickable goal, but not a certainty.”

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