Luke Hodge lays down teh lay to his Lions teammates. e
Luke Hodge lays down teh lay to his Lions teammates. e Chris Hyde

Runner rule could hurt young Suns

SENIOR players will need to provide more direction out on the field than ever before, Brisbane great Alastair Lynch says.

The AFL has this season restricted when team runners are allowed to interact with players during games. They can only pass on messages from the coaching staff following a goal.

"I'm fine for the runners to have limited access, but the reality is, for the young developing teams - you can imagine the extreme is the Gold Coast Suns - they are going to have a number of new players. You haven't had them for that long. The coaches need to be reinforcing the messages throughout the game," Lynch (pictured) said.

"They won't be able to do that now. They are going to have to rely on their senior players, and there's not many out there."

The Suns play St Kilda at Marvel Stadium tomorrow.

"There's going to be times when, say the Gold Coast, and Brisbane for that matter, are conceding goals, and there's structural issues that need addressing," Lynch said.

"The likes of Hodgy (Luke Hodge at Brisbane) or (David) Swallow (at the Suns), it's going to be up to them to reinforce what the guys should be doing.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 10: David Swallow catches during a Gold Coast Suns AFL training session at Metricon Stadium on January 10, 2019 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
David Swallow will be key for the Gold Coast Suns. Chris Hyde

"I don't mind stopping it, but it's going to make an impact.

"For the more experienced teams, they're coaching themselves."

Lynch, a three-time premiership forward with the Lions, was a fan of the softening of the push-in-the-back rule - which has been unfairly harsh on forwards in recent years.

"I felt that was just wrong to start with. It wasn't a push. If you were cushioning the opponent coming back your way (with your hands) it was a free kick against," Lynch said.

"I understand why they did it. They wanted it to be a real trigger for the umpires ... 'okay, there's a hand in the back so it's a free kick'.

"The interpretation now is the correct one. You can put your hands in the back to protect your area. You can put your hands in the back to clear the area."