Put the whistle away

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Guju

Debutant
Mar 18, 2019
89
157
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Yep, umpires that constantly blow the whistles have far too much control over match outcomes.

Too many soft frees given. The soft free then opens up play, leads to another play up the field, and then goal. Then people forget that the soft free at the start eventuated to the brilliant goal. Rinse and repeat.

The umpires should be unnoticeable but they rarely are.
 

greatwhiteshark

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 3, 2007
11,273
10,925
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
West Perth
I don't think they blow the whistle enough, the rules of the sport should be adhered to and if not there should be a free kick.
There is that many blatant head high contact, push in the backs, incorrect disposal not paid that it is a joke.
You want the game to open up then pay the bloody free kicks.
The head is not sacrosanct in the AFL, it is unbelievable how much head high contact there is now.
 

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hcd199

Club Legend
Apr 29, 2009
2,132
1,384
Hobart
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Waterford GAA, Glenorchy, Hob (BBL)
I think that, contrary to the 'make the rules more clear-cut' crowd, the fact that there's lots of room for discretion and interpretation in the laws of the game is helpful for this sort of thing. Free kicks that are there have to be paid, no question (picking and choosing when to apply the rules is a surefire way to introduce inconsistency), so having qualifiers like "unduly" in there, or vague concepts like "incidental contact", is the next best way to enable umpires not to pay soft technical frees in certain circumstances. Which is not to say they don't often get the balance wrong (missing a blatant free at one end then plucking out a really cheap one at the other), but the principle is a sound one.

I also think we already get this, mostly - considering the rules as they stand, you'd expect teams to infringe far more often than ~5 times a quarter... and the same goes for some of the fiddlier things they've introduced in recent years; how often do umpires seem to suddenly call a stationary player to 'play on' at the very moment an opponent looks to be entering the protected area, rather than have to pay the 50m penalty, for instance? On the whole, I get annoyed at umpiring decisions as much as anyone else, but most rules are pretty sound, and the way they enforce them is mostly not that bad - except, of course, when there's a sudden directive to crack down on a particular rule, like we've seen with the absurd change in approach to holding the ball since Round 4...
 

Adelaide Hawk

Hall of Famer
Sep 21, 2002
47,920
38,577
Adelaide
AFL Club
Hawthorn
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Norwood
I just love the fascination footy fans have with umpires. One minute they want the umpire to not pay frees, the next minute they're whining over the free kick that the umpire didn't pay to their team. Then they complain the umpire doesn't pay enough frees, then carry on when the opposition is given a free they don't agree with.
 

Keays2myBeamas

All Australian
Oct 5, 2014
618
1,177
Brisbane
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
I don't think they blow the whistle enough, the rules of the sport should be adhered to and if not there should be a free kick.
There is that many blatant head high contact, push in the backs, incorrect disposal not paid that it is a joke.
You want the game to open up then pay the bloody free kicks.
The head is not sacrosanct in the AFL, it is unbelievable how much head high contact there is now.
A terrible mistake, and the exact line of thinking that is prevalent and directly ruining the sport. A sport where umpires are constantly stopping play and paying a free kick at every single contest is exactly what is causing people to turn off.
- Over-adjudication leads to players playing for free kicks (see diving, shrugging, ducking, driving etc)
- Technical amendments often have to be made to deal with the effect of the over-adjudication
- Overly technical rules make it almost impossible for players to actually adhere to all the rules, or even understand all the subtleties of the current interpretations.
- Overly technical rules lead to difficult umpiring decisions, which lead to marginal and incorrect calls impacting matches (every marking contest, tackle and ruck contest generally has 2-3 acts that could technically be paid under the current rules, and so it is inherently a lotto as to what actually does get paid).
- This difficulty in umpiring leads to inconsistent umpire calls (often mistaken for bias) and result in people demanding changes to "interpretations", which are ultimately further technical rule changes.

The rules are in absolutely desperate need of reform, it is not an impossible task to make them drastically more clear and concise (because they actually used to be in the past). This allows players more chance to consistently adhere to them, and it alleviate umpires of the impossibility of their roles, so that less marginal, soft, and inconsistent umpiring occurs. Players are less inclined to bend the rules, because there are clearer boundaries about what they can and can't do.

No neutral fan enjoys watching soft or marginal free kicks being paid, it's a massive turn off. The exception is holding the ball (in the traditional interpretation) - because it is a reward for good play and punishment for bad play, not a punishment for unfair play. This distinction is crucial, and almost never alluded to. A sport where umpires are constantly stopping play and deciding 50% of the possession is not an interesting sport for anyone other than a brainwashed diehard or wannabe lawyer.
 
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FreoStillNil

Debutant
Suspended
Aug 23, 2011
102
210
Perth
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Brescia Calcio
My favourite is when they get tired of throwing up the ball.

After about three goes of throwing up the ball it's like "I can't be f’ed, I'll pull out a free from somewhere and get the ball away from me". Usually holding the ball is the call.
 

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