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Ruckmen tactics leap into spotlight
West Coast ruckman Dean Cox takes on Hawthorn's David Hale. Picture: AFL Media.

Ruckmen who jump across the line at West Coast's Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui at centre bounces will be penalised only if they make "violent contact", according to umpires boss Jeff Gieschen.

Former Richmond and Western Bulldogs coach Terry Wall- ace questioned at the weekend the legality of what appeared to be a growing tactic against the Eagles pair.

But he said Gieschen had told him on Saturday that the level of contact from Hawthorn's David Hale and Jarryd Roughead at the MCG on Friday night had not been sufficient to warrant a penalty.

Hale and Roughead repeatedly jumped across the line marked through the centre circle to affect the leap of Cox and Naitanui in their team's win over West Coast.

Wallace was particularly curious over Hale thwarting Naitanui's ability to take his last step before leaping at the ball and whether other ruckmen would apply the same tactic.

He raised the issue on Melbourne radio station SEN on Saturday.

It came as Cox and Naitanui prepare to tackle North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein in Sunday's elimination final at Paterson's Stadium. The pair monstered Goldstein in a two-point win in Hobart in round 15.

Wallace said: "I just think the umpires will have a look and say 'were they right, were they wrong?'

"I think they'll have a real good look at it and I think everyone will analyse it just because of the fact that it was Naitanui and Cox and it worked so effectively."

Wallace said Gieschen had told him there was no rule in place that outlawed ruckmen from jumping over the line as the bounce of the ball was too unpredictable.

Hawthorn midfield coach Adam Simpson was adamant Hale and Roughead had done nothing wrong in their tactical battle with Cox and Naitanui.

"It's the way that Haley rucks," Simpson said.

"As long as he doesn't go past the flight of the ball, I don't think it's an infringement. Once you go past the line of the ball and you really take their space, then obviously you're going to give away a free kick.

"You've got to find that line and sometimes we cross that line, but I thought last night (Friday night), on balance, we did it pretty well.

"I wouldn't expect too much change. I think that rule has been in place for a few years and I think we've been doing it that way for a while. I think everyone who plays against those two talls has similar tactics."

The umpiring department will review Friday night's match today.

"I think everyone who plays against those two talls has similar tactics.""Hawthorn midfield coach

  • Adam Simpson *