Umpiring The State of Umpiring in the AFL

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TheKITC

Cancelled
Mar 7, 2009
2,937
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AFL Club
Carlton
** Mods, do your thing obviously - but I think this requires some genuine discussion and things tend to die and be buried on the Umpiring and Rules board, no offense to anyone that frequents that one. Felt it worthy of being on the main board **

"All the average fan wants from the three umpires looking after their team’s game is consistency. One thing that was a free kick in the first quarter should be a free kick in the last quarter. A free kick one week should be a free kick the next week."

Never have truer words been spoken and I think we have seen the exact opposite for a while now and it has reached tipping point.

Former AFL umpires boss Wayne Campbell believes the quest for consistency is “unachievable and unattainable” and I would hope this is the exact reason he is no longer in that position. However, if that is the underlying sentiment at AFL house, then we have a far greater problem then perhaps even the most ardent critic of the umpires would have thought.

Campbell outlined three reasons why he thought it was 'unachievable' and I'd like to unpack and discuss them somewhat as well as add to the the problems I think we have from an officiating standpoint. Personally, I think his POV is absolute garbage and honestly, fairly indicative of the AFL stance on umpiring generally. Accepting inconsistency and hence mediocrity in attaining fair and right outcomes is a huge part of the problem and would not be accepted any business where there aren't strong, mitigating circumstances. The nature of the AFL is to always defend and essentially cover these things up, which is the case 99% of the time when they 'review' then come out and release their findings to the public about contentious decisions, interpretations on matches or talking points.

"We all bring the team scarf that we’re wearing to any decision. We just do. We barrack for the Bulldogs, we say that’s holding the ball, even if it’s not, but we think it is."
What has that got to do with achieving consistency? I have watched games as a neutral (so not barracking apart from it being a good game) and have found on numerous occasions that team a does not receive equal calls to team b for similar incidents and moreover, the same application of an interpretation is not applied at one stage of the game as it is in another. Doubly inconsistent and frustrating and it should not happen.

Unless the umpires are barracking (hmmmm) this is really just a strawman that has no relevance.

“We don’t know the rules. They change a bit and they’re complex. I played for a long time and until I got into umpiring I didn’t have a clue about holding the ball."
Again, not anything to do with consistency unless indeed the umpires themselves don't know the rules. With all the talk about it recently, most people have a good grasp on rules, even when they are 'updated' or interpretations are adjusted. We can accept that certain umpires will have varying interpretations and indeed, in some games interpretations will be required to be different based on different factors (when melees are occurring and control is tightened or weather conditions etc.) but these interpretations need to be congruous throughout a match (and a season), for all sides... which it 100% is not.

Another point here is for the AFL to stop bloody changing the rules and cow towing to public pressures on certain topic points with 'rules of the round'. It's bullshit but that's partially for another thread I think.

"....which kills everyone, is umpires make mistakes. They just do."
Absolutely a fair point. Umpires are humans and everyone except the most one eyed supporter can accept the odd mistake because they will invariably happen. These errors can be accepted if the above points are improved upon, but they simply exacerbate supporters and viewers frustrations when they happen currently, because the umpires are wildly inconsistent.

All of the above is further exacerbated when you have 2 other factors occurring in my opinion with relation to umpires;

-> They clearly get directions, information and/or advice at certain points of the game and attempt to 'even' things up. This is bad umpiring but I've seen it happen of hundreds times in different matches. THE FREE KICK COUNT DOES NOT NEED TO BE EVEN. A huge misconception that borders on lunacy is that both teams should receive the same amount of free kicks in a game.

Teams play with varying game styles and are prone to giving away or receiving more free kicks based on that and other factors... Most people should be able to work this out, but it feels at times like the modus operandi is to pander to the lowest intellect of fans and even the count up at certain points, because of the inane expectation that the counts should be equal or thereabouts. Again, the mistakes that will invariably happen would be more palatable if this didn't occur... It's just bad officiating.

-> Umpires involving themselves in 'the spectacle'. A fair portion of umpires consider themselves part of the game I reckon, far too much in my opinion. I'm not going to name any names because I don't feel like adding to 'their profile' any further, because we shouldn't know their names in the first place. THE BEST UMPIRES ARE THE ONES YOU DON'T NOTICE. I am against them being known, against them being mic'd up and totally against they way they interact and at times lecture the players. I get the strong feeling that when a game is free flowing (with not many calls being required), some of these umps have an ego issue and wish to impart their will or have some influence on the game and want to start blowing the whistle. It is frustrating and it is non-sense. I also strongly believe they may love 'getting their heads' on TV and act theatrically when it is not required on any level.

Personally, I don't want to see or hear from an umpire ever; I don't wish to know their names (or games officiated, give me a break) and I certainly don't want them thinking they are part of the AFL spectacle, which at the moment they absolutely do. All of this is not helped by the fact that all the media outlets refer to them by name and give them air time like it actually adds to the broadcast, which IMO it doesn't. Quite the opposite. I'm not saying they should be treated like dirt, because we need them in our game. But a strong message of standards needs to be sent regarding this and other things.

We have a serious issue with umpiring. In my opinion the standards are at an all time low and they are having too much influence, on too many games, too often. I don't think consistency is unachievable, in fact far from it. If the above were addressed, I feel our game at all levels would be dramatically improved.
 
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wce4premiership

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 18, 2005
15,569
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West Coast
This year has been one of the worst that I can remember from recent times.

The deliberate rule is a farce. The umpires will call an absolute shank as deliberate despite it being in the players best interest to hit his team mate. Intent is everything when it comes to that rule and the fact that they can't do the following reflects extremely poorly on their intellect as well as their integrity;

a) See a shank kick
and
b) Use deductive logic to effectively rule out the boundary being remotely in the player's best interest.


When the game is close they love to pay the most ridiculous sh*t you will see with the boundary line. It is beyond embarrassing for professionals.

The current HTB rule is another beast entirely.
 

Yojimbo

Cancelled
Nov 14, 2012
10,914
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The "Elephant" in the room.
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I feel for the umpires a bit, there have been multiple games i have watched this year where i have no idea who should have got
the three Brownlow Votes. Plus that knee jerk reaction to Alistair Clarkson's outburst was almost comical the result has been a
moving feast of uncertainty. I will cut them some slack as they are giving so much during this difficult time and never has their
job been more scrutinized.

The umpires in cricket have been caught in a land of "Oh the replay will pick it up" and it has devalued them to an extent, i hope
we do not go the same way in the AFL, but i have my concerns.
 

greatwhiteshark

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 3, 2007
12,467
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Perth
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West Coast
Other Teams
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It is not the umpires fault, they have been given a mandate and a set of laws which are impossible to follow and adjudicate on. Way to many sub rules to rules and throw in each umpires interpretations and you have a mess which we now have.
100% the AFL's fault is the umpiring.
 

somo84

Debutant
Nov 9, 2013
126
101
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
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It is not the umpires fault, they have been given a mandate and a set of laws which are impossible to follow and adjudicate on. Way to many sub rules to rules and throw in each umpires interpretations and you have a mess which we now have.
100% the AFL's fault is the umpiring.
Bullshit. If true, the mistakes would roughly even out. They don't. Crooks.
 

Pusswah

Club Legend
Aug 16, 2009
2,778
3,758
AFL Club
Fremantle
The leadership from the AFL is as much to blame as anything.
Too many ambiguous rules and interpretations.
Instructions that change week to week on how rules should be interpreted.
 

1990crow

Brownlow Medallist
Jan 31, 2009
23,067
29,583
AFL Club
Adelaide
Honestly. The Rolling maul that is the game is the issue not the umpiring. Trying to umpire 36 players within one third of the ground and you're going to have a bad time.
 

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Hot Diggity

All Australian
Jun 19, 2020
884
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Bullshit. If true, the mistakes would roughly even out. They don't. Crooks.
They are crooks. I don't buy the sh*t Razor Ray came out with a while back saying he hated having his integrity questioned.

Round 2, 2019, WB v Hawthorn.

If that game is not irrefutable evidence that they are crooks, then we may as well pack up and go home.
 

somo84

Debutant
Nov 9, 2013
126
101
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Liverpool
They are crooks. I don't buy the sh*t Razor Ray came out with a while back saying he hated having his integrity questioned.

Round 2, 2019, WB v Hawthorn.

If that game is not irrefutable evidence that they are crooks, then we may as well pack up and go home.
Plenty of other examples too.
 

Guju

Debutant
Mar 18, 2019
94
162
AFL Club
Hawthorn
I hope the AFL people and media journalist read this thread and realise the contempt (apart from Bulldogs supporters) brewing amongst us footy fans about the state of the game. The AFL will lose fans if this sh*t continues.
 

TheKITC

Cancelled
Mar 7, 2009
2,937
4,406
The Cupboard
AFL Club
Carlton
I hope the AFL people and media journalist read this thread and realise the contempt (apart from Bulldogs supporters) brewing amongst us footy fans about the state of the game. The AFL will lose fans if this sh*t continues.
AFL will never admit there is a problem and just tick everything off in public.

Tonight is case in point that we have a serious problem with the officiating of our game...
 

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