The bump, once one of football's greatest shows of strength, is on life support, while players who duck into tackles seeking a head-high free kick will be told to play on as part of new rules for 2014.
As part of changes announced by the AFL's Laws of the Game committee on Tuesday, umpires will award free kicks and report players for rough conduct if a bump results in contact to the head.
Players had escaped censure in recent seasons if it was felt a head clash had been ''caused by circumstances outside of the control of the player which could not reasonably be foreseen''. Now the player opting to bump rather than tackle or shepherd has a duty of care, ''and that a clash of heads is an action that could reasonably be foreseen'', possibly prompting more coaches to encourage their players to avoid bumping.
The move comes as the long-term impact of concussion is emerging as an increasing point of interest among current and former players.
Any player with the ball who uses his head to make forceful contact below the knees of an opponent, or acts in a manner that could cause injury in the hope of winning a free kick, will be penalised, while players who duck into stationary or near-stationary opponents seeking high contact and a free kick will be penalised unless they legally dispose of the ball. The umpire will call play-on when a player ducks into a tackle.
AFL operations manager Mark Evans said the league had consulted several groups, including the players' and coaches associations, and medical officers.
"These amendments are in keeping with the AFL's strong stance to protect against head injury," he said.
Players will be given greater freedom in marking contests, after frustration over the hands-in-the-back rule.
The AFL has altered law 15.4.5 (d) and added the word ''unduly'' in terms of paying a free kick only when a player ''unduly pushes, bumps, blocks or holds'' in a marking contest.
"There will still be expectation that players demonstrate they are legitimately attempting to mark the ball,'' Evans said.
Players will be also happy that there will be greater leniency in terms of paying a 50-metre penalty against those inadvertently caught in the protected area and raising their hands.
A penalty will only be enforced if a player has delayed or affected the player in possession.
There will also be an easing on interchange penalties.
Clubs will be fined if players deliberately delay their entry/return to the field.
Teams will not be penalised for an interchange breach if the guilty player returns to the interchange box immediately and has not interfered with play or another player.
As the AFL seeks to cut down on on-field clutter, clubs will only be allowed to use one runner, whose time on the field will be restricted, while the number of trainers allowed to enter the field has been slashed from six to four, with a fifth trainer allowed on only for stretcher incidents.