Umpiring The State of Umpiring in the AFL

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ciaobella

Club Legend
Jul 7, 2005
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Geelong
The Umpires missed so much tonight for both sides. Seemed like they were scared to pay frees. Are they? Have they been given a directive by the AFL that unless it's a blatant free let it go?
 

Lavender Bushranger

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 25, 2005
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Bizarre umpiring last night. Just baffling.

They clearly had a premeditated plan to derail Geelong's possession game by calling 'Not 15' constantly. Even when the kick was at least 20m, they still called it.

Terrible.

And they also had a strategy or directive to allow throws and not pay HTB all night!


It was just weird to watch. Like watching a different sport.
 

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RobbieGray17

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 19, 2007
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Bizarre umpiring last night. Just baffling.

They clearly had a premeditated plan to derail Geelong's possession game by calling 'Not 15' constantly. Even when the kick was at least 20m, they still called it.

Terrible.

And they also had a strategy or directive to allow throws and not pay HTB all night!


It was just weird to watch. Like watching a different sport.
I'm new to the game: Can you explain the HTB rule to me.
 

burge13

Norm Smith Medallist
Jan 25, 2019
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I'm new to the game: Can you explain the HTB rule to me.
I dont think the AFL, rules committee, executives, coaches, or players could accurately do this. It changes weekly, sometimes multiple times a week

Bit like deliberate, throws, 15m for marks and 50m pens for protected zones/standing the mark. No one has a clue whats happening, just let the chaos ensue
 

Herne Hill Hammer

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Jun 22, 2008
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There was a passage of play last night in the 2nd quarter, Geelong in deep trouble, pretty much on their defensive goal line, Atkins on his knees, clearly throws the ball, not even disguised.

Over the next 45sec to a minute, Selwood also blatantly throws the ball and 4 Geelong players drop the ball cold when tackled.

I reckon the umpires were positioned poorly on all 6 occasions.

Maybe that's a new directive, get in poor positions so you miss the frees and the game can flow.
 

Lavender Bushranger

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 25, 2005
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The Umpires missed so much tonight for both sides. Seemed like they were scared to pay frees. Are they? Have they been given a directive by the AFL that unless it's a blatant free let it go?
As a neutral, I generally prefer watching games with limited umpire interference.

And I do tend to agree with the policy of 'unless it's a blatant free let it go'. But...

A 'blatant free' shouldn't be interpreted as how severe the infringement was - it needs to be based on the impact to the game.

A 'little' throw that results in a goal - is far worse than a blatant throw that doesn't effect the play much at all.

And that's the issue with umpires deciding to 'let it go'. They aren't good enough to make those judgement calls.

The poor officiating of the HTB is a real pet hate of mine for that reason.
 

sherb

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Sep 28, 2003
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I feel for the umpires, it seems to me to be an increasingly difficult and complicated game to officiate.

Having said that, there's no excuse for blatant errors which have nothing to do with that difficulty - like last night, when a holding the ball decision was paid when the tackle ended up around the player's ankles.
 

Lavender Bushranger

Norm Smith Medallist
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I feel for the umpires, it seems to me to be an increasingly difficult and complicated game to officiate.

Having said that, there's no excuse for blatant errors which have nothing to do with that difficulty - like last night, when a holding the ball decision was paid when the tackle ended up around the player's ankles.
It depends which came first though.

Doesn't matter where the tackle ends up if the HTB or incorrect disposal has already happened.
 

sherb

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It depends which came first though.

Doesn't matter where the tackle ends up if the HTB or incorrect disposal has already happened.
Fully aware of that.

My recollection is that the tackle came first, hence my post.

Happy to stand corrected though.

My broader point remains too, blatant errors from top level umpires are frustrating.
 

Lavender Bushranger

Norm Smith Medallist
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I had to laugh at Ratts whinging about umpiring. Bro your team kicked 5.17.
I think it's attitudes like yours that cause umpiring to be as bad as it is.

Awful umpiring is an entirely different discussion to how a team played and whether they won or not.

There is a real childish culture around people who comment legitimately about officiating being 'sore losers'.

It's a shame, as it detracts from genuine discussion.

FWIW, Ratten's comments about 'it's not worth it to tackle' are completely valid. Sending two or three guys at the ball carrier to tackle is a terrible strategy if they're allowed to throw it out to their outside players.

The problem is that you spend all season practising it because it's a fundamental of footy - only to find out the hard way on a random given night that the umpires aren't going to pay it and your whole strategy is screwed.

Same can be said for Geelong and their short kicking possession game. It's a completely legitimate tactic - but last night the umpires basically rendered it useless by not paying 20m kicks.

How do you develop a strategy if the rules change randomly without notice?
 

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Fadge

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 4, 2007
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There was a passage of play last night in the 2nd quarter, Geelong in deep trouble, pretty much on their defensive goal line, Atkins on his knees, clearly throws the ball, not even disguised.

Over the next 45sec to a minute, Selwood also blatantly throws the ball and 4 Geelong players drop the ball cold when tackled.

I reckon the umpires were positioned poorly on all 6 occasions.

Maybe that's a new directive, get in poor positions so you miss the frees and the game can flow.
Hope someone has the balls to show that vision on the footy shows during the week...
 

tigerwill

Premiership Player
Mar 19, 2008
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I think it's attitudes like yours that cause umpiring to be as bad as it is.

Awful umpiring is an entirely different discussion to how a team played and whether they won or not.

There is a real childish culture around people who comment legitimately about officiating being 'sore losers'.

It's a shame, as it detracts from genuine discussion.

FWIW, Ratten's comments about 'it's not worth it to tackle' are completely valid. Sending two or three guys at the ball carrier to tackle is a terrible strategy if they're allowed to throw it out to their outside players.

The problem is that you spend all season practising it because it's a fundamental of footy - only to find out the hard way on a random given night that the umpires aren't going to pay it and your whole strategy is screwed.

Same can be said for Geelong and their short kicking possession game. It's a completely legitimate tactic - but last night the umpires basically rendered it useless by not paying 20m kicks.

How do you develop a strategy if the rules change randomly without notice?
Excellent post.
The umpires are being directed by SHocking to overlook the Rules.
They've stuffed up with the 666. It didn’t increase scoring or reduce congestion.
The stand on the mark rule means a team is playing one man down. Absolute farce
The “play on “ at all costs. Means teams can throw, funnel and just drop the ball in a tackle. Just to reduce contests and congestion. Pooh!
The basic Rules don’t change (so much)but directives from SHocking on how to umpire has created frustration for all.
Time for Hocking to get the top job at Geelong. He’s been a disaster for the game
No wonder Hayden Kennedy resigned.
 

2Knights

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Aug 16, 2009
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Excellent post.
The umpires are being directed by SHocking to overlook the Rules.
They've stuffed up with the 666. It didn’t increase scoring or reduce congestion.
The stand on the mark rule means a team is playing one man down. Absolute farce
The “play on “ at all costs. Means teams can throw, funnel and just drop the ball in a tackle. Just to reduce contests and congestion. Pooh!
The basic Rules don’t change (so much)but directives from SHocking on how to umpire has created frustration for all.
Time for Hocking to get the top job at Geelong. He’s been a disaster for the game
No wonder Hayden Kennedy resigned.
Poor umpiring began way before Steve Hocking came along. And Hayden Kennedy hasn't helped anything. You have to go back to the 90s to see competent umpiring.
 

blaisee

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 11, 2004
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Ensure you have an ex player and administrator be employed in a newly created position as the AFL General Football Oprations manager

The free kick count last night was a joke, and only the cats way, coincidence?
I counted 5 clear holding the ball decisions not called, this affected the result
Why do we the football public have to endure such a continuous and ongoing clear bias
 

_Mike_

Super Moderator
Aug 10, 2009
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The “play on “ at all costs. Means teams can throw, funnel and just drop the ball in a tackle. Just to reduce contests and congestion
So the consensus is that the (rules) system is broken, not some random conspiracy theory that particular teams are being singled out for preferential treatment?
 

RobbieGray17

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 19, 2007
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If a player takes possession of the ball and can get rid of it, but doesn't or drops the ball, its HTB. How hard can it be?

Players have adapted to being called HTB by dropping the ball and the umpiring department have dropped the ball.

If you take the ball and CHOOSE not to get rid of it legally then you should be done. Why can't they look at it that way. There needs to be a genuine effort to legally dispose of the footy, not just drop it.
 

Lavender Bushranger

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 25, 2005
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Grogansville
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Excellent post.
The umpires are being directed by SHocking to overlook the Rules.
They've stuffed up with the 666. It didn’t increase scoring or reduce congestion.
The stand on the mark rule means a team is playing one man down. Absolute farce
The “play on “ at all costs. Means teams can throw, funnel and just drop the ball in a tackle. Just to reduce contests and congestion. Pooh!
The basic Rules don’t change (so much)but directives from SHocking on how to umpire has created frustration for all.
Time for Hocking to get the top job at Geelong. He’s been a disaster for the game
No wonder Hayden Kennedy resigned.
The issue isn't necessarily new rules, or even existing rules - it's the blatantly inconsistent application of them randomly across different games.

At least with new rules, everyone knows what they are.

But when rules are changed unexpectedly for unknown reasons for random games, it's completely unacceptable for a professional sport. I can live with errors, but last night wasn't errors, it was a clear change to the interpretations.

For fans it's baffling, frustrating and confusing. But for players and coaches it must be infuriating.
 

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