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Hocking sets record straight

AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking during his time at Geelong.(krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

AFL football operations manager Steven Hocking has moved to clear up what he claims were a misrepresentation of his directives to AFLW clubs, declaring they were not introduced to improve scoring.

During the week, clubs were sent guidelines aimed at avoiding the congestion which frequently occurred in the opening round of matches.

The clutter of players and low scoring were the major topics to come out of the first round.

Hocking pointed out some contests had drawn up to 18 players, with midfielders often joined by backs and forwards.

A 15-metre protected zone for midfielders in front of stoppages was introduced for the second round.

“There’s been a real misrepresentation around this,” Hocking said after Friday’s game between Greater Western Sydney and Carlton.

“It wasn’t about ,more scoring. It was actually about providing the women with an opportunity to display their skills in a congested situation.

“At a stoppage it was really about creating a zone around that, a ring of about 15 metres.

“The umpires did a fabulous job in implementing that tonight.

“It was guidelines, we didn’t change any rules, it was just workshopping with the clubs.

“If you have a look at that game tonight and those conditions, it was very clear the game was far more open and there was some great transfer of play.”

Pundits who took aim at some of the low scoring across the first round were potentially given more ammunition, with just four goals kicked and plenty of wayward shots in Friday’s game at Sydney’s Drummoyne Oval.

Carlton won 3.12 (30) to 1.3 (9), with the Blues’ first seven scores being behinds and GWS not goaling after the first quarter.

The players’ weren’t helped by difficult conditions with the wet ground lashed by a storm, which forced play to be suspended for around 20 minutes after the first quarter.

“The most important thing for us is the health and safety of the players and also the umpires,” said Hocking, who made the decision to halt play as thunder and lightning crashed around the ground.

© AAP 2018

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