Has the AFL gotten too hard to umpire?

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LiddleCharlie

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Hard to umpire because the powers that be make well intended rules but have zero awareness of any unintended consequence outside of that. The man on the mark is the perfect example. In isolation, it a good rule, opens the play and creates a flow, but as a consequence of this rule we now have the issue of players getting called play on and mowed down if they take one step off their line. Umpiring is made harder because of those who make the rule changes.
 

RunningBounce

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The controlling umpire now has to watch the man on the mark to make sure they don't move, while also watching the player with the ball to call play on as soon as they step off the line, as well as watching every opposition player running past to check if they in the 'protected zone' while also watching to see if they are just following an opponent.

As long as we employ umpires who have four eyes all operating independently of each other, umpiring is doable.
No idea how an umpire is meant to watch the bloke with the ball, the player standing the mark, the protected area and any blocking off the ball all at the same time
While counting to ten before calling "play on!"
 

RunningBounce

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Enough people have posted about the Hickey one last night, and I don't want to make it a pile on.

I'm guessing that poster has a long relationship with Aussie Rules, and knows plenty about the game. Yet, didn't know that the rule used to be that taking the ball out of the ruck was prior opportunity. And then it wasn't. And then it was again. Currently, it's not.

That's one only rule, governing a reasonably obscure part of the game.

What about holding the ball, with 100s of tackles laid a game. Does anyway know what's currently considered prior opportunity, the ball being knocked out, high contact, low contact, a throw, a sling, or a drop, or being held without it? Nop. Noone.

What about marking contests? Anyone confident they could say what constitutes hands in the back in 2021?

What chance do new supporters have?

IMO, the constant rule changes aren't free. They come at a cost. And that cost is that noone, players included, current knows what they are. But hey, the game looks like it did in the 90s and Josh Bruce kicked 10, so "footy is back".
 

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Altum Volantes

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So much open to interpretation. Things that were reasonably simple in the past (ie holding the ball, push in the back etc) have become incredibly hard to predict and have become basically random.

I think it’s now gone too far that way, with rules being brought in to counter other rules.

I am not a ‘FOOTY TODAY IS TERRIBLE!’ Yahoo but I am glad I’m not trying to follow what the hell is going on as someone new to the game.
 

Heeney2Franklin

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This.

It's easy to criticise the umpires, we all do it, but it must be an incredibly difficult task.

And the game never stays static to give the umpires some breathing space, the AFL changes rules every damn season. :(
Still part time umpires cant take the AFL seriously untill they make it professional.
 

Heeney2Franklin

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The deliberate out of bounds rule gets me. The ones where it’s clear that it’s a miskick by the player (such as Heppell’s last night) should never be called deliberate.

This one as well drove me insane, what’s a defender meant to do in this situation?

Thats just dumb blame Hocking for that he spoiled and the ball went over the line Lol
 

living_in_syd

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I cant think of any other sport that has this many grey areas and interpretations. As a result, because its based on interpretations, umpire have the ability to make an influence. Sad reality of this sport.
 

Ants

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I agree with others that this is a hard gig for umpires. That said, I also think they're failing it.

In solution mode, one way of increasing eyes without increasing numbers (which is hard because getting people to be umpires is tricky) would be to have boundary and goal umpires also making calls on play. That would give sets of eyes who can be on the outside of plays, allowing the main umpires to be more central. Of course, it probably won't be great for interpretation consistency. :(

I think the main problem is the endless media coverage, slo-motion replays, discussion designed to create controversy and therefore ratings, fan discussion sites like BigFooty - all these hash and re-hash every nuance and interpretation without ever coming to 100% agreement as to what was the 'right' decision.
.....
The commentators last night hardly discussed the free kick count at all. They did discuss some individual incidents, but that's not going away.
 

Cripps 'n' Blue Bloods

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The deliberate out of bounds rule gets me. The ones where it’s clear that it’s a miskick by the player (such as Heppell’s last night) should never be called deliberate.

This one as well drove me insane, what’s a defender meant to do in this situation?

Well it wasn't a marking contest, so not a spoil. He has to at least attempt to keep the ball in the field of play. He just fists it straight to the boundary.
Harsh, but it's there.
It's like punching the ball through the goal posts at a ball up.
 

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TedDougChris

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Well it wasn't a marking contest, so not a spoil. He has to at least attempt to keep the ball in the field of play. He just fists it straight to the boundary.
Harsh, but it's there.
It's like punching the ball through the goal posts at a ball up.
Which you can do in open play - but you cannot do at a ball up or knocking it over and out of bounds.

They had one a few weeks back, near the point post - so it was swatted over for a throw in - until the umpire ruled insufficient intent. If it had gone through for a point, it was ok - but the boundary line - hell no, you cannot do that...
 

joy division

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Well it wasn't a marking contest, so not a spoil. He has to at least attempt to keep the ball in the field of play. He just fists it straight to the boundary.
Harsh, but it's there.
It's like punching the ball through the goal posts at a ball up.
You're allowed to spoil the ball and with common sense applied and a basic sense of physics you'd think it would be easy. If his fist didn't get to that ball it would have ended up in Buddy's hands. Also don't mind Buddy's shoulder in the still here.
insufficient intent.jpg
 

citizen-erased

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I don't think the Hickey one was that bad. Was a 50/50 call and don't think they necessarily got it wrong, it just could have gone either way.
One of the bigger howlers for me was Reid nearly getting his head taken off going for the mark.
Was a bloody good game and I felt it was umpired reasonably well. A few missed or bad calls both ways.
Hickey one didn't cost us. We'd have needed a hail mary coast to coast without coughing it up

It wasn't a reasonably well umpired game though
No game will be perfect, and you can't bank on it for a win, but it was very one sided and it's frustrating to see a tight game ruined by one sided umpiring.

Worst one of the night was the man on the mark moving before the play on call when Dev was taking his shot.
Dev got pinged for it 2m later. But i appreciate the comedy in that one. the 16:1 ump officiated both of those. :p

Rules that introduce ambiguity and a need for interpretation are not good for the game
hence the Stand rule is awesome (when not ignored). There can be no interpretation of whether the player moves or not.

Insufficient attempt in spoiling scenarios is a ridiculous rule.
Francis' sole focus should be to stop Buddy marking a ball. Where it goes after that is not his concern.
 

Cripps 'n' Blue Bloods

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You're allowed to spoil the ball and with common sense applied and a basic sense of physics you'd think it would be easy. If his fist didn't get to that ball it would have ended up in Buddy's hands. Also don't mind Buddy's shoulder in the still here. View attachment 1097926
He's allowed to punch it, but you can't try to argue that the boundary line wasn't hos goal? Might have ended up in Buddy's hands but it was play on, not a mark, so other players just would have to be ready to stop him. As a defender, his natural instinct is to kill the ball and reset the defence. That's fine in a marking contest, not for a bump ball. Harsh maybe. Unlucky maybe, but it's there.
Forget about Buddy's shoulder. It's two players going for the ball.
 

citizen-erased

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Hard to umpire because the powers that be make well intended rules but have zero awareness of any unintended consequence outside of that. The man on the mark is the perfect example. In isolation, it a good rule, opens the play and creates a flow, but as a consequence of this rule we now have the issue of players getting called play on and mowed down if they take one step off their line. Umpiring is made harder because of those who make the rule changes.
i like this rule. They could give the kicker a little more leeway before calling play on, but it makes the mark manning so much clearer
and has removed the stupidity of players blocking the man on the mark.

And the overall openness in play is a great outcome.
 

Cripps 'n' Blue Bloods

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Insufficient attempt in spoiling scenarios is a ridiculous rule.
Francis' sole focus should be to stop Buddy marking a ball. Where it goes after that is not his concern.
Except it WASN'T a spoiling attempt or a marking contest. Ball had already hit the deck. That is THE single most important part of it.
 

citizen-erased

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Except it WASN'T a spoiling attempt or a marking contest. Ball had already hit the deck. That is THE single most important part of it.
it was on its way to the deck as the players were. It was less than a split second between that contest being a marking situation vs. ground contest.

players can't change intent in that small a timeframe.
 

joy division

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He's allowed to punch it, but you can't try to argue that the boundary line wasn't hos goal? Might have ended up in Buddy's hands but it was play on, not a mark, so other players just would have to be ready to stop him. As a defender, his natural instinct is to kill the ball and reset the defence. That's fine in a marking contest, not for a bump ball. Harsh maybe. Unlucky maybe, but it's there.
Forget about Buddy's shoulder. It's two players going for the ball.
But in that contest with the limbs he had a available he could either do what he did or let the ball bounce off his knee and go out of bounds. Look at the direction the ball comes in from and the only position he can put his arm in. He couldn't have kept it in if he tried. You can't call "insufficient intent" for that.
Buddy's shoulder might be nit-picking but he chose to use it and it landed on his cheek contest or not. He went with the body and it hit high.
 

Cripps 'n' Blue Bloods

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it was on its way to the deck as the players were. It was less than a split second between that contest being a marking situation vs. ground contest.

players can't change intent in that small a timeframe.
Yet Essendon supporters will have us believe that Hickey had prior opportunity in a similar timeframe and that he had time to look at and pull out of a handball to Parker.

Carlton had one a few weeks ago where Weitering had a rushed kick in heavy traffic to try and clear defensive 50, and the umpire started calling play on as soon as it left his boot (indicating that it must have been touched off the boot), yet he still got done for deliberate. This, to me, was more deliberate than that.
 

Cripps 'n' Blue Bloods

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But in that contest with the limbs he had a available he could either do what he did or let the ball bounce off his knee and go out of bounds. Look at the direction the ball comes in from and the only position he can put his arm in. He couldn't have kept it in if he tried. You can't call "insufficient intent" for that.
Buddy's shoulder might be nit-picking but he chose to use it and it landed on his cheek contest or not. He went with the body and it hit high.
All he had to do was let Buddy take it and lock him up for a ball up. He chose to punch and he chose the boundary. He lined it up.

I just rewatched the clip on the previous page a few times and that shoulder was literally NOTHING. Not even convinced it made contact. Looked to me like he was just getting his arm ready to take possession of the ball, or tap it on to advantage (maybe even play for the boundary line himself).
 

Ron The Bear

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Three of my most disliked umpires, but you could hear them trying really hard to explain decisions to the players. What they were saying made sense, yet most observers would have marked last night as a fail. The job is harder than ever.

Maybe they should record the match reviews and make them public?
 

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