In part 2, we look at the rules for defenders in free hits awarded inside the dotted line. Make sure to check out last week's #RuleyTuesday first!
Distrustful when dealing with 5 metres around the dotted line? We’ll dispel all doubts on this #RuleyTuesday. Let’s do this!
Hey friends! I’m Keely Dunn of FHumpires back with a hot take on one hockey rule. If you look to alliterations to light up your life, a $3/mo. fhu3t Green membership not only supports our work but gets you some insider perks like forever access to the back #WhatUpWednesday catalogue, so enrol today!
Last week we dealt with what defenders can and can’t do when their team has had a free hit called against them. I highly recommend you go back and have a gander at that episode first so you have the basics firmly entrenched in your brain, so follow the link in the description below, or here. Or here. 🤷♀️
13.2(b) opponents must be at least 5 metres from the ball
If an opponent is within 5 metres of the ball, they must not interfere with the taking of the free hit or must not play or attempt to play the ball. If this player is not playing the ball, attempting to play the ball or influencing play, the free hit need not be delayed.
Here’s the part specifically around the 5m dotted line:
At an attacking free hit awarded within 5 metres of the circle, the ball cannot be played into the circle until it has travelled at least 5 metres or it has been touched by a defending player. If the free hit is taken immediately the defenders who are inside the circle within 5 metres of the free hit may shadow around the inside of the circle a player who takes a self-pass, provided that they do not play or attempt to play the ball or influence play until it has either travelled at least 5 metres or alternatively been touched by a defending player who can legitimately play the ball. If the attacker chooses not to take the free hit immediately, all other players must be at least 5 metres from the ball before the free hit is taken.
I gave this sub-sub rule it’s own #RuleyTuesday because it seems to give a lot of people trouble, which I chalk up to the wording changing in the 2019 book, which was new wording in the 2017 book.
The 2017 Version
So in 2017, we were introduced to the idea that since a free hit couldn’t be played directly into the circle, if a free hit was awarded inside the dotted line, a defender could stand inside the circle (including on the line) even if that put them within 5m, and from there could “shadow around the inside of the circle a player who takes a self-pass, as long as they didn’t play or attempt to play the ball or influence play until it has either travelled at least 5 metres or been touched by a defending player who can legitimately play the ball.” Obviously, this would need to be a different defender to started out 5 metres away at the outset and was legally entitled to close on the ball carrier––if you need more on this, again, go back to last week’s episode.
In 2017 it was also stated that a defender who was 5 metres away from the spot of the free hit couldn’t move up closer just because they would still be inside the circle–this exemption of staying within 5m only applied if you were “caught.”
We apparently didn’t do too well at understanding this concept because these parts of 13.2(b) were rewritten to try to simplify the whole process, and to bring something back in: if there’s time for the defenders to move back to 5m away, they have to. That may include needing to retrieve a ball that’s rolled away, the attacker just measuring their options, or an injury needing a time stoppage, for example.
I get it. At this point, you’re thinking this is SUPER complicated and ready to throw up your hands. As always, I’ve got a trick. This is exactly how free hits work everywhere else on the pitch.
Let me explain. If you award a free hit in the middle of the pitch and a player is caught within 5m, they can’t interfere with the play until the ball have travelled 5m, right? And if the defender or defenders have time to back off 5m, you are going to ask them to do so and penalize them if they don’t. They can’t just stand there, within 5m, waiting for the ball to be played even if they were initially caught there. That’s the same principle we’re applying here, with one tiny detail: the attackers *can’t* just dribble straight ahead, and as a result of that, a defender who *only* shadows around the circle *can’t* be interfering with the play until the ball carrier is legally able to enter the circle. That’s it, easy peasy.
So what does that mean for you, intrepid umpire? It means that if you have time to utter the words, 5m please, before the attacker takes the free hit, then you should. If you don’t, you don’t. As you award a free hit inside the 5m dotted line your spidey sense should tingle and alert you: is the ball at the spot of the foul? Are the defenders 5m away? Is this attacker going to take a quick free hit? If so, you watch for the ball travelling 5m before any influence. If not, you’re going to use your whistle and your voice to message the defenders as soon as humanly possible to step back.
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Chau for now!
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