Umpiring General Umpiring Chat

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RU_

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Aug 6, 2010
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Just starting a thread for general chat as I couldn’t see one.

So far this year we have had some shocking free kick differentials in matches and a lot of neutral supporters claiming that ‘team x is clearly being robbed here’, etc.

From my understanding, AFL umpires aren’t full time? Surely with the amount of money this multi-million dollar organisation generates we can train and employ full time umpires?
 

jabba5114

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Full time won't stop umpires guessing because there out of place all the time. Al most need boundary umpires to five frees sometimes

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
 

Dewy006

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In past seasons I’ve been very dismissive of fans complaining about umpiring, including my own. Generally you get what you deserve. But this season may be the worst standard of umpiring I’ve seen in the time I’ve watched football. They are actually affecting the outcomes of games.

It seems a strange consequence of the new “no abuse” rule is that the quality of umpiring seems to have steeply declined.
 

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chriso11

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Careful… AFL house aka Gill’s Kremlin might shut down this thread, no dissent or non sanctioned thought allowed
 

Matera92

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50m penalty to everyone posting in this thread for hurting the poor widdle umpires feelings.
 

deathevocation

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Always hard when at the ground but thought the umpiring crew for Hawthorn v St Kilda were terrible. No bearing on game but some real baffling decisions/non decisions - maybe different if had benefit of tv/replay.
 

ManInWhite

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Just out of interest, assume you put the umpires on full time, what would you get them to do each day that they aren't already doing now?

They can't do any more fitness work than they already do (run 6-7 days per week) and they can quote you the laws of the game word perfectly. So what do they do Mon - Fri from 9-5? Just watch game videos?
 

BringFevBack2021

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Just out of interest, assume you put the umpires on full time, what would you get them to do each day that they aren't already doing now?

They can't do any more fitness work than they already do (run 6-7 days per week) and they can quote you the laws of the game word perfectly. So what do they do Mon - Fri from 9-5? Just watch game videos?
Maybe do as the PGMOL do in the UK? You should be well versed in that I’d imagine? Or is it easier to just be snarky and sarcastic and refuse to acknowledge that umpiring as a whole in our game is not of an acceptable standard?
 

ManInWhite

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Maybe do as the PGMOL do in the UK? You should be well versed in that I’d imagine? Or is it easier to just be snarky and sarcastic and refuse to acknowledge that umpiring as a whole in our game is not of an acceptable standard?

Completely different scenario. PGMOL was driven by logistical issues of getting referees around the country. Over here it's the perceived umpire performance that's completely wrecked by farcical rule changes and interpretations that come through on a weekly basis. Soccer isn't impossible to referee but Aussie rules footy has gone that way sadly.
 

BringFevBack2021

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Completely different scenario. PGMOL was driven by logistical issues of getting referees around the country. Over here it's the perceived umpire performance that's completely wrecked by farcical rule changes and interpretations that come through on a weekly basis. Soccer isn't impossible to referee but Aussie rules footy has gone that way sadly.
Fair point! Appreciate that, I'm not sure what the solution is either FWIW.

I believe stricter interpretations would go a long way, but how many incidental contact frees would be given away if that were the case? How hard is it as an umpire to correctly gauge the insufficient intent rule? How hard is it to get marking contests right, every time; especially with the benefit of multiple camera angles shown after the fact? I'd say it's pretty hard.

Many problems I think could be resolved with VAR - but not sure if that has been floated in the AFL and not sure if it's deemed as fan friendly. For mine, I'd prefer it. Some example scenarios where I could see it used:

Scenario #1 (Fictional, but replace McKay with KEY FORWARD NAME and Jonas with KEY DEFENDER NAME and you can probably find 3-4 examples a game)
McKay is paid a free kick for being held illegally by Jonas, from the Umpires perspective, it looks as though Jonas is holding one of McKay's arms back. McKay goes back, starts to line up for goal when VAR interjects and overrules the decision based on an alternate camera angle that shows McKay had infringed first by grabbing a fistful of Jonas' jumper.

Scenario #2 (Round 4, Geelong vs Brisbane)
Charlie Cameron collects the footy, snaps around the body truly and celebrates as Brisbane regain the lead with an insane goal. Instead of calling for a score review prior to initiating play, the goal is deemed to be a goal until such point that VAR can overrule. VAR determines that the goal was infact a goal, the players are unbeknownst to the fact it was even reviewed and potentially, this heightened level of arousal leads to better morale in the Brisbane camp and another goal.

Scenario #3 (Fictional, but replace Turner with SMALL FORWARD NAME)
Kayne Turner dribbles a footy through the goals where it is plausibly touched by a Fremantle defender. Everyone believes it to be touched, North are setting up as though it were touched and play continues as though it were a behind. VAR reviews this scenario, finds that it was a goal and play is stopped; North collect a goal and play restarts with a center bounce.

You sound like you know what you're talking about with respect to the rule changes and interpretations, and given your name I assume you umpired at some level, do you think the governing body makes it impossible for umpires to do the job the public expects them to do as it makes consistent interpretations impossible?
 

ManInWhite

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Fair point! Appreciate that, I'm not sure what the solution is either FWIW.

I believe stricter interpretations would go a long way, but how many incidental contact frees would be given away if that were the case? How hard is it as an umpire to correctly gauge the insufficient intent rule? How hard is it to get marking contests right, every time; especially with the benefit of multiple camera angles shown after the fact? I'd say it's pretty hard.

You sound like you know what you're talking about with respect to the rule changes and interpretations, and given your name I assume you umpired at some level, do you think the governing body makes it impossible for umpires to do the job the public expects them to do as it makes consistent interpretations impossible?

It's not an easy solution and unfortunately not much light on the horizon. For background I've umpired for 40 years at mostly local level - included a few years on AFL squad but not the senior list. I was part of the intake that included McBurney, McInerney & McLaren etc. and the network is fairly strong.

What is interesting is that over the past 15-20 years the training methods, resources, facilities and support staff for umpiring has increased dramatically but the public perception is that it's dropped off a cliff. Whilst the umpires themselves are not full time, the support they are offered is second to none. Skills and abilities wise, the umpires are probably at their peak. Why the negativity then?

I hate going the blame game but what you've got is a pool of very talented guys and girls trying to do an impossible job! We joke a bit about all the rule and interpretation changes but honestly, it's almost destroying the game. The committee will zero in on a perceived problem that needs a fix but more often than not, it creates other issues.

Getting back to the full time piece. Let's break it down and see what would they actually do?

From a fitness perspective there is both formal group training and informal individual training. Nominally 6 days per week but most will be doing something 7 days. In a FT role you can't really expect them to do much more than they already are or else you risk injury.

Regarding laws of the game and interpretations, these guys will know the book off by heart and quote page number if you wanted them too! If you had their working week include "rule book review" from say 9-11 3 days a week, there is nothing to be gained that they don't know already!

Biggest issue that umpires have always had is that we really only get to practise and perfect our skills in live games. Sure we do skill drills at training for say boundary throw-ins or set kick control in front of goal but these are very scripted and contrived and personally I find them very uncomfortable. Generally involves other umpires being actors in the drill but the intensity is nothing compared to what you find in a real game. Players can simulate real game situations at training - even pilots can simulate real life flying in a flightsim but umpires can really only perfect what they do in actual games. FT umpires might get some benefit if you can convince an AFL team to play some practice matches during the week but we all know the answer to that!

One other issue regarding FT umpires is that majority come from corporate type jobs that really require an umpire remaining current in their profession. Umpiring will give you maybe 10-15, even 20 years but these guys have current jobs taking them to retirement. Stepping away from these jobs for a few years can risk their future promotions, etc. and many of these guys will have to weigh up do they just look at short term or long term? Forcing full time may well drive away some of the better umpires that you want to keep! Hardly any are tradies, etc. that could just pick up the tools again once they finished full time umpiring. Job security is a concern too if they suffered severe injury or if poor performance caused them to be dropped from the squad.

Off season is awkward too - what do they do between October and Feb? No matches to review, rules book has been read to death, you can only run so much in a day? Run a few school recruitment clinics in local footy maybe but most people are too into cricket then anyway.

Not an easy problem to solve but my worry is that forcing them FT will just increase the wages bill in a major way yet the public will see no nett improvement and then the knives will be out.

Lately the "umpires short by 6000 people" has been getting lots of airplay and tbh, we all think it's much in excess of that. Last few seasons I've been running 3-4 (sometimes up to 5) games per weekend and you just suffer burnout. Recruits are low for many of the reasons above - public criticism of performance is not that enticing for young kids getting into the game. When I was 19-20 all my mates and I just dreamed of being recruited by the AFL and were thrilled when we did. Now the younger guys in our comps are less interested in going to the AFL when you see what they're likely to cop. My son even did a year with VFL rookie squad in 2019 and was asked about interest in joining the squad but said no and he would prefer just doing top level community footy. Will be interesting to see where things go in a few years when the current crop of Rosebury, Stevic, etc. retire!
 

Alesana

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Just starting a thread for general chat as I couldn’t see one.

So far this year we have had some shocking free kick differentials in matches and a lot of neutral supporters claiming that ‘team x is clearly being robbed here’, etc.

From my understanding, AFL umpires aren’t full time? Surely with the amount of money this multi-million dollar organisation generates we can train and employ full time umpires?
Why is a big differential automatically a bad thing? If one team is consistently infringing more than the other team then there should absolutely be a big differential. The quality of umpiring is what should be discussed, not the differential. The free kick counts do not have to be equal.
 

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BringFevBack2021

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ManInWhite great insight! Don't really have anything to add further but just wanted to acknowledge how good of a post that was. Looking forward to the discussions in this thread.
 

Matera92

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Umpires should be separate to the AFL and should be free to interpret the game as they believe it's been written, not based on the whims of the suits at AFL house who have NFI.
 

flyinghi64

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Insufficient intent to keep the ball in play, that's the rule right?

So when a player kicks the ball up the wing, gets slung in a tackle while disposing of it or kicks of balance on the wrong foot, Then a play on the opposition tracks the ball to the boundary with heaps of opportunity to pick it up but instead waits for it to go out then fling their arms around asking for a free. Why does the team that kicked it get penalized rather than the player who stood over the ball watching it go out without making any attempt to keep it in play.

I get so annoyed when someone does a great banana up the wing and gains 40-50m while keeping it in play only for an oppo player to shepherd the ball, almost dodging it's bounce, until it trickles out and they get a free.
The player that actually makes the play and executes a skillful kick gets punished while another player that does absolutely nothing but dodge a bouncing ball gets rewarded.

Currently up there with the most inconsistent and annoying rules IMO. Good rule if applied sensibly.
 

ManInWhite

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ManInWhite great insight! Don't really have anything to add further but just wanted to acknowledge how good of a post that was. Looking forward to the discussions in this thread.

Thanks mate. It's an area that I'm a bit passionate about. Many think that the umpires will get very defensive and deny any issues but I'm far from that. There's certainly a lot of tweaking that needs to be done but my worry is that full time umpires won't be the answer and after a few years of trying it they'll just scratch their heads and say "that didn't really work did it".

The problem with umpiring is that it's really only properly understood from within it's own circles. In the earlier days (when funny enough, people said things run better!) Bill Deller was the national director. Glen James was our squad's coach. All the people in charge were successful and respected umpires who had come up through the ranks. Rowan Sawers was also a coach and in later years Hayden Kennedy was in charge locally. The wheels started falling off when Jeff Gieschen took charge. Nice bloke but just didn't understand what umpiring was about or what the challenges were. Numerous others followed who were great footy people but had no umpiring background. Too many agendas and non qualified people trying to throw in their own input. Hayden Kennedy might have only resigned a few months ago but don't think for a moment he wasn't getting his strings pulled for over a year to the point he had just had enough. Combine all these distractions and rules committees changing everything each season - it's no wonder the umpires are on a hiding to nothing!
 

ManInWhite

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Why is a big differential automatically a bad thing? If one team is consistently infringing more than the other team then there should absolutely be a big differential. The quality of umpiring is what should be discussed, not the differential. The free kick counts do not have to be equal.

A point I've made for a long time. Tackling is a skill and some players will do it better than others. The better ones don't give away as many free kicks just like the better players tend to kick more goals than lower teams!! What you also find is that players who have given away a few free kicks get frustrated and their game is a little less rational. Instead of trying to tackle a guy again, they'll just charge at him in a range and give away more free kicks or 50m penalties. Not uncommon for a team to give away maybe 5-6 frees in a quarter but then 9-10 in the next quarter due to their mindset. But the ump cops it because the free kick count isn't the same!
 

Elmer_Judd

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Overall I think the Umpiring is better this year.

Some fans just like to whine and or esp blame them after a team's loss.

The 666 Rule has been refreshing.

I am glad they are cracking down on throws/instead of disposals, just feel they could improve on pinning more illegal disposals though and stop being sucked in by Duckers like Jimmy Rowe and Ginnivan over the weekend.

But overall, its been much better than the last couple of horrid years of officiating
 

western royboy

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Thanks mate. It's an area that I'm a bit passionate about. Many think that the umpires will get very defensive and deny any issues but I'm far from that. There's certainly a lot of tweaking that needs to be done but my worry is that full time umpires won't be the answer and after a few years of trying it they'll just scratch their heads and say "that didn't really work did it".

The problem with umpiring is that it's really only properly understood from within it's own circles. In the earlier days (when funny enough, people said things run better!) Bill Deller was the national director. Glen James was our squad's coach. All the people in charge were successful and respected umpires who had come up through the ranks. Rowan Sawers was also a coach and in later years Hayden Kennedy was in charge locally. The wheels started falling off when Jeff Gieschen took charge. Nice bloke but just didn't understand what umpiring was about or what the challenges were. Numerous others followed who were great footy people but had no umpiring background. Too many agendas and non qualified people trying to throw in their own input. Hayden Kennedy might have only resigned a few months ago but don't think for a moment he wasn't getting his strings pulled for over a year to the point he had just had enough. Combine all these distractions and rules committees changing everything each season - it's no wonder the umpires are on a hiding to nothing!
I’ve been umpiring for the last 7 years (major league & minor league) in the Country - our numbers are off a cliff. The AFL have like all things in regional areas neglected it and now its *ed. The recruitment focus is purely city centric, it totally ignores the problems of regional area. As for an overview on why umpiring at the highest level is so poor, it’s largely about interpretation and being in the right spot to see the play but ultimately it’s about the quality of your decision making and under pressure there‘s plenty on the list that run 2nd in that regard.
 

CrowToon

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I love 'Arms out 50'.

The fools stating it's an overreaction are just apologists for abuse.

We need to just stamp the whole thing out full stop. The only question that should be allowed to be asked is what the call was and that is it.
 

western royboy

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I love 'Arms out 50'.

The fools stating it's an overreaction are just apologists for abuse.

We need to just stamp the whole thing out full stop. The only question that should be allowed to be asked is what the call was and that is it.
Was he abusive? The oldest Law in the Cricket Rule Book use to be Law 43 - “Apply Common Sense” - Note at that time there were only 42 Laws in the book. The decision just lacked common sense, probably right in some quarters but from a personal perspective it does nothing to help umpiring in terms of grass roots or perception. In that regard it sits next to Ray Chamberlain - totally ******* useless
 

AFL4ME

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What I don't understand is why grandfinals (in general) are umpired "differently". You hear it from the commentators and see it all the time when a grandfinal is played. Why don't they umpire like this in every game during the season where they don't pay soft free kicks.
 

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