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AFL stiffens NAB Cup penalties
Roger Vaughan
16:23 AEST Wed Nov 21 2012

AFL players must now serve any NAB Cup suspensions during the regular season as part of a league crackdown on offences and penalties.

The AFL will also introduce two new charges to stop players crashing into opponents below the knees.

Forceful contact below the knees and sliding feet-first into a contest now fall under the category of rough conduct.

The changes mean if a player is suspended because of an incident in the opening week of the NAB Cup, he can play for the rest of the pre-season competition.

But he will then have to serve his penalty from round one of the home-and-away season.

The AFL states the change was made "to ensure consistency and to provide a sufficient deterrent for players not to offend".

The league also announced on Wednesday:

* It will be tougher for a player to qualify for a good record, which means a 25 per cent discount on any tribunal penalty, with the requirement for clean slate increasing from five to six years;

* An increase in the penalty points for stomping, making the offence as serious as kicking.

* And if a defendant in a tribunal hearing makes a claim against another player, "that player must be notified and have the opportunity to appear and be heard on the case as a matter of fairness".

While the changes largely mean stricter penalties and guidelines, the AFL also relaxed the definition of a bad record loading.

A player now qualifies for a bad record, which means a tougher penalty, if he has been suspended for two or more games over the previous two years.

The AFL said it relaxed the bad record definition "to reflect the fact it was felt three years is too long for a player to hold onto a 'bad record' for committing a single offence".

Players sliding feet-first into contests became a hot topic this season, particularly after Sydney speedster Gary Rohan suffered a broken leg.

North Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas was reported for sliding into Rohan, but the case was thrown out on appeal.

Sydney co-captain Adam Goodes was also suspended for sliding into Port Adelaide defender Jacob Surjan.

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