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New AFL ruck rule to favour Hawks' Bailey
Sam Lienert
18:31 AEST Wed Oct 31 2012

Hawthorn believe injury-plagued Max Bailey could regain the club's No.1 ruck role next season, helped by an AFL rule change.

The 206cm 26-year-old, who endured three knee reconstructions early in his career, spent much of this year sidelined by a wrist injury.

He returned to play two home-and-away games late in the season but was dropped in favour of the Jarryd Roughead-David Hale ruck combination ahead of the finals.

The Hawks announced on Wednesday they had re-signed Bailey for next year.

Football manager Mark Evans said Bailey, who has played just 24 AFL games in his seven seasons, including 16 in 2011, was capable of seizing back the prime ruck berth next year.

"The challenge for Maxy is now that he's of good health and has a good pre-season, he hopefully resumes the No.1 ruck mantle," Evans said on the club's website.

Evans said the rule alteration for 2013, under which ruckmen can no longer make contact before ball-ups and throw-ins, should favour a player such as Bailey, who is taller than Hale and Roughead.

"He's very mobile, agile, good off the ground below his knees, he tackles - he does all the things you want your ruckmen to do," Evans said.

"It might turn out those changes to the ruck rules give him some advantage."