Ok, so first of all, I’m no conspiracy theorist and I’m not one for blaming losses on umpires, that’s not what this is about.
This is about the the fact that as pretty much the leading sport in the country, the umpiring standard in the AFL is pathetic.
I’ll admit, since the saga began I haven’t watched as many non Essendon games as I used to, so maybe my view is somewhat biased as I’m only watching the Essendon games and the poor decisions are standing out, but I’m pretty confident that my view is balanced as I have also noticed it in other games.
The fact that during a single game, a panel of 3 - 4 supposed “experts” of the game (commentators) can be unanimously baffled by 10-20 different decisions or non decisions is a very worrying sign. (Yes I know it doesn’t take much to confuse our expert commentators, e.g most are confused by simple things such as a team having more than 1 indigenous player and just calling that one name everytime one of them is near the ball, but I’m trying to make a point, so il give them the credit of knowing the rules).
I can never remember getting so frustrated from umpiring decisions as I have in the last 5 or so years, so when and why did this begin?
I hate the fact that umpires are so damn chatty with the players and are mic’d up - did that have an impact?
I realise our game is one of the most difficult games to umpire with so many players and so much fast flowing gameplay on such a large field, so do we need more umpires? Do we need less to ensure consistency?
Even though our technology is crap on our goal reviews is it time to trial video umpiring? Having a couple of umpires watching the action on tv and telling the on field umps to blow the whistle? Is it time to start giving teams challenges such as cricket / tennis?
I know fans are passionate and there will always be the ones who blame umpiring etc, but at the moment in our game it seems to be talked about in just about every game, whilst in my involvement in other sports such as basketball / tennis / soccer I’ve never really come across it as an issue in other sports.
Even from watching non Essendon games, for me the umpiring is really having a negative effect on the spectacle that I think AFL can be. And yes I’m also aware the rules committee have made it difficult with interpretations etc so maybe that’s another place to look.
Anyways, just interested in everyone’s thoughts / opinions / suggestions. A few of mine below.
I absolutely HATE seeing players appealing for free kicks, especially with the new interpretation of deliberate out of bounds, players stop chasing the ball 10 metres from the line to start asking for a free, so one thing I’d like to see is players being awarded a free kick against as soon as they start appealing for frees during the gameplay. Nothing wrong with a quiet word to the umpire after the play has moved on, but it just bugs the crap out of me seeing players focus more on trying to get a few than just playing footy.
Umpires “coaching” the players - things such as “don’t go high”, “don’t give it away you’ve got the free”, “east west”, etc etc, if the players don’t know the fkn rules by now then that’s their own problem, stop warning them about things and just shut up, if they do the wrong thing then pay a free, it’s pretty damn simple.
Umpires explaining frees - such a stupid thing, players don’t deserve an on field explanation - let the umpires do their job free of outside influences and added responsibility- if the club need clarification about decisions this can be sought after the game.
Mic’s - get rid of them, pure and simple.