Umpiring General Umpiring Chat

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western royboy

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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.
I’m a community ump, it happens at all levels, ultimately I reckon it comes down to lack of courage and the desire not to be controversial. But it is a thing for sure
 

AFL4ME

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I’m a community ump, it happens at all levels, ultimately I reckon it comes down to lack of courage and the desire not to be controversial. But it is a thing for sure
I think lots of soft frees, often inconsistent is what causes the frustration. I suppose the best and most experienced umpires in the granny have the judgement to make decisions when they are really there.
 

western royboy

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I think lots of soft frees, often inconsistent is what causes the frustration. I suppose the best and most experienced umpires in the granny have the judgement to make decisions when they are really there.
I’ve done Grand Finals with more senior umpires - common sense comes into play, we are not the entertainment so “let ‘em play” gets thrown around a lot - sometimes a little bit too much
 

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AFL4ME

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I’ve done Grand Finals with more senior umpires - common sense comes into play, we are not the entertainment so “let ‘em play” gets thrown around a lot - sometimes a little bit too much
Yes common sense instead of being a rookie cop and everything by the book. I often wonder if umpires have played the game and whether they would have a better feel for the game if they did
 

western royboy

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Yes common sense instead of being a rookie cop and everything by the book. I often wonder if umpires have played the game and whether they would have a better feel for the game if they did
Of course we do - it’s common sense - which is why it should be the area that community umpires recruit from, but unfortunately they don’t.
 

AFL4ME

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Of course we do - it’s common sense - which is why it should be the area that community umpires recruit from, but unfortunately they don’t.
I don't seem to notice Leigh Fisher too much. It could be a good solution even ex WAFL, VFL or SANFL players
 

ManInWhite

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Apr 6, 2009
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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.

Biggest factor is that you've generally got the 2 best teams playing. In general, free kicks are awarded because a player has infringed one of the rules. Better skilled teams have players that don't infringe so much and therefore less free kicks paid. Add to the fact that weather is usually better, grounds are drier it's no wonder that games look and flow better than say mid July in a bog hole. In 40 years I've never decided to umpire "differently" because a game is a grand final. We react to the game as it unfolds regardless of whether it's a practice match or a grand final. In fact, the more you decide to do something out of the ordinary, the more you'll end up cocking it up.
 

Parasite

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Sep 19, 2007
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What’s the rule on the ball contacting the goal umpire? Freo denied a goal because it was adjudicated as probably hitting the post. I don’t know the rule but surely it’s just play on when it hits umpire and therefore a goal?
 

AvantGardener

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Mar 13, 2016
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If #34 the chick who did Carlton V North umpires next week its a sad indictment on the quality of umpires around. We won by 10 goals so no emotional posting here. We missed out on free kicks sure, but so did North and we got frees we shouldnt have got. Very poor game.
 

Alesana

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Oct 13, 2011
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What’s the rule on the ball contacting the goal umpire? Freo denied a goal because it was adjudicated as probably hitting the post. I don’t know the rule but surely it’s just play on when it hits umpire and therefore a goal?
No they weren't. If the ball didn't hit the umpire it would've hit the post, so it was given a behind. That's how the rule works.
 

Cripps 'n' Blue Bloods

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I don't seem to notice Leigh Fisher too much. It could be a good solution even ex WAFL, VFL or SANFL players
You should try being a Carlton supporter, then you'll notice Fisher. Seems to have a different set of rules for us. Has inexplicably umpired a few Blues vs Saints games too and given very lopsided frees. From memory, somebody checked one of the games and found he gave something like 10 to the Saints and 1 to us.
 

staffonly

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Aug 20, 2021
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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!


I'm not sure the frightened of the criticism they may cop is going to gather much support. In every job you do you will receive positive and negative reviews. Players at an AFL cop more criticism than most of us ever will.

I've watched two YV games this season that were the worst umpired games I've seen in my life to the point they were dangerous for the players involved. One umpire got a promotion the following weeks after complaints from the sides involved. If I was an umpire I don't want to be with that bloke the next week.
 

western royboy

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I'm not sure the frightened of the criticism they may cop is going to gather much support. In every job you do you will receive positive and negative reviews. Players at an AFL cop more criticism than most of us ever will.

I've watched two YV games this season that were the worst umpired games I've seen in my life to the point they were dangerous for the players involved. One umpire got a promotion the following weeks after complaints from the sides involved. If I was an umpire I don't want to be with that bloke the next week.
Sadly it’s a reflection on 20 years of ignorance by peak bodies…the numbers are so low that the standards have been lowered accordingly. Some deadset people umpiring that have NFI and are potentially dangerous - “lack of control” is a big issue in senior footy but players probably have to adjust first
 

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hamohawk1

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Dont have the stats but does appear the sheer number of free kicks is rising. Most games now seem to be around 45-50 frees paid which is simply crazy.
 

flyinghi64

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This year has to be one of the worst where umpires favor one team over another, particularly early in the game then have that one quarter, usually the 3rd, where they try even the count up a bit.
I have watched a fair bit of other teams games, cause let's be fair it has been pretty hard going watching my team, and this trend seems to pop up in most games.
The amount of times in the first half I have seen a team have double or more free kicks, let's say 15-7, then by the end of the game it get's closer like 22-17 or something. Generally also the team with the higher free kick count in the first half wins.
 

Shai

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Perhaps it's time for the AFL to invest some of the multi million dollar profits in recruiting and educating the next gen of umpires.

The umpiring so far this season would need a boost to lick the belly of a snake.
 

Shai

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And the pencil membered persons aren't in control right now? Which is why I suggested an investment/incentive to consider it as a career.
 

western royboy

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Perhaps it's time for the AFL to invest some of the multi million dollar profits in recruiting and educating the next gen of umpires.

The umpiring so far this season would need a boost to lick the belly of a snake.
Multi million dollar profits? You must be joking, AFL Vic is broke and chronically underfunded. They threw out the systems pre covid and then planned to re tool everything.
 

Shai

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Multi million dollar profits? You must be joking, AFL Vic is broke and chronically underfunded. They threw out the systems pre covid and then planned to re tool everything.
Is that right, would play right into my theory that they would do anything to ensure a Vic final series this season :oops:
 

western royboy

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Where are they going to find the next gen of umpires? Kids would have to be full on pencil dick dweebs to look for a career there.

On SM-J250F using BigFooty.com mobile app
In the Melbourne Metro area, where community footy and particularly junior footy is off its head (which is a problem in itself) junior umps are recruited from the overflow of junior players.

In the country, where we don’t have enough…


It’s that simple
 

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