I think these rules open up some really interesting paths forward for the sport, and I'd like to ask for opinions/input on one in particular: goalies are now allowed past half.
I see this change having the largest effect in the endgame. Playing keep-away in the final 30 seconds with a one goal margin is more difficult when uou no longer can simply swim away from the 7th defender. Offensively, this is more interesting if 1 practice can be paired with this rule change: hat changes.
In a 1-goal or tied game, it would be very interesting for a team to gain control of the ball with ~30 secs left, call time out, alert the referees and table to a number change swapping a field player into a goalie position, and playing 7-on-6 (double post with 3 shooters up top?) for the final possession.
I've done a bit of research to see how legal this would be. FINA rules have some very specific language about how substitute goalies can only be subbed in for the starting goalie position, but I have found no language explicitly banning a cap swap putting a fieled player into goal. The only FINA language I found was...
A player shall not be allowed to change his cap number during the game except with the permission of a referee and with notification to the secretary.
To me, this sounds like it will be up to the referees interpretation, preferably before the season starts? What are your thoughts on this rule and others? Are we headed in the right direction?