The "FFS umpiring, FFS" thread

So a lot of people frequently allude to an umpiring conspiracy / corruption on here. That the umpires are somehow instructed to give Essendon a rough time, or something similar. I see it posted around here all the time but nobody seems to really want to go into it in detail.

So, let’s do that. Go on the record in this thread with your views.

I’m a pretty logical and intelligent guy I think, and this is normally the sort of theory I would absolutely scoff at. However my view has changed over the past few years (essentially during and post saga).

I think the AFL has previously shown that it loves to manufacture a bunch of different outcomes. Lots of levers are used to do this, from the draw, to the tribunal, to draft concessions, interpretation of trading rules etc. The bizarre umpiring that I have seen over the past 2-4 years has now lead me to believe that umpiring is just another one of these levers, which is used by the league, on occasion, to try and influence outcomes.

Do I believe this applies to all umpires? No, not at all. Do I believe that games are fixed? No. But I do believe that there are a handful of umpires which the AFL throws into games where it wants a particular outcome, to try and see if those umpires can influence that outcome. It wouldn’t even be a matter of instructing those umpires to favour a particular team, it would be about those umpires having an implicit understanding of what outcomes City Hall is keen on and those umpires in turn understanding who cuts their paychecks.

This doesn’t just apply to Essendon either, it applies to a bunch of different scenarios where the AFL wants to see a particular outcome.

I’m not totally convinced of the above, and I recognise that there is still a reasonable chance that I’m insane. But enough of you seem to think the same way and I think its worth having a discussion about.


Things go to ■■■■ when its interpreting intent.

Rules need to be ‘did this happen? if yes then play on/throw in/ball up, if no then free kick’.

did the player dispose of the ball? no, freekick.

none of this bullshit ‘knocked out in the tackle’


Can’t wait till we have robots.

I don’t think there is a conspiracy, they are just REALLY REALLY bad at their highly paid jobs.


It’s bad. There is no fix for it though, just have to live with it.

We won today because we were legit ten goals better than Collingwood.
To beat GWS and Geelong I think we have to be five and fifteen goals better respectively.

I am not yet ready to discuss the third quarter.


I don’t think it’s likely that you could find 30 odd individuals that don’t have their own inherent biases, personal likes and dislikes; just like any other workplace. Watching some games make me think they haven’t even tried particularly hard.

There are times, today wasn’t one, where all three umpires seem to decide to markedly change how they’d been running things, all at once. Which is head shaking at the very least. Third quarter of the last grand final was one, jarringly different to the whole first half. Is that luck? Just how it seemed? I dunno. Can’t trust any of these ■■■■■.


How did @Albert_Thurgood not start this thread??


There were 18 free kicks in total tday - 9-9 - according to AFL stats. I’d guess the average is approx 40 per game. The whistle just seemingly disappeared today, for whatever reason, and it’s so inconsistent from week to week.

As to whether there’s genuine AFL directives with respect to preferred outcomes, I’d say there absolutely is. Last year’s Grand Final was a good example.


Initially I thought it was a problem with multiple umps with multiple opinions. But too many of them (e.g. an un-named bald fellow) aren’t even vaguely consistent with themselves.


hyperventilating in a dark room.


There are a handful that are generally pretty consistent and reasonable.

Instead we always seem to cop any of;

Fisher (#1 on hopeless list, no idea)
Nicholls (**** of a bloke, inconsistent AF)
Pannel (just a plain deadset cheat)
Foot (screwed us over multiple times)
Bannister (was useless, retired now)
Chamberlain (a genuine farkwit, efc hater)
Schmidt (A blight on football as a whole)
Findlay (incompetent, doesn’t know rules)

Whenever I see any of the above named for efc names I instantly assume the worst for that game


I can trace the exact moment the umpires turned against us. It was when James Hird came out and gave Scott McClaren a spray on the Footy Show. It was well deserved, but since then we have gotten bent over.







This shitt again???

:wink: Seriously, you guys have a point today, … flame the hell away for mine, I could not believe how often the fktards didn’t pay clear frees to us all day, I felt like if they costed us the game I would have gone full fkn WOB.

It’s that bad it does almost seem like a conspiracy at times, but to be honest, I just think they have a freaking tough job with extremely hard guidelines to follow and lack of accountability for poor performances.

I shall elaborate.

The job itself. Everyone will tell you how much the game has changed in the past 20, much quicker, way more players at each contest, faster skills, players trying to use certain rules to their advantage. All of these changes, plus rules that now contain more interpretation rather than black and white scenarios.

With all of the above its just a really tough job to get consistent calls. I myself think I am a reasonable judge of frees and unbiased, yet I can be watching on the best angle available on TV and go completely apeshit bananas when a free isn’t paid, just to see the replay and realise I was wrong.

Umpires are just human, they have the pressure of on the spot calls, pressure from the crowd and all of the above factors in a fast paced game, it’s a seriously tough job.

Lack of accountability. It irks me that week in and week out there is (or used to be) a segment with the umpires boss assessing some of the dodgy frees from each weeks games. It was total BS as they manipulated the interpretation of each rule to get the outcome of “the right decision was made” - unless it was an absolute shocker.

To me this is ridiculous, the umpires always seem to have been untouchable, coaches are even too scared to comment. I really hope that behind closed doors they are getting the honest feedback that they deserve.

Fixes. It has to come down to simplified interpretations. Especially HTB as it is just impossible in the speed of the game to decide if a ball was knocked out in the tackle etc etc.

Better internal feedback and accountability

Another thing I would love to see is players being paid a free kick against if they appeal for a free kick, nothing annoys me more these days than 5 players staring at the ball as it rolls over the line then all turning to the umpire and appealing for a free, or 5 ppl sitting on top of each other then all appealing for HTB.

Start paying frees for this pathetic behaviour and that’s one less thing the umps have to be influenced by.

Can’t say the above ideas will fix it, but I also can’t see how they could hurt.

Plus - I think there is a clear difference in wet games, seems to always be less frees paid, might just be my imagination.


We had 1 free kick in the whole 2nd half. Tippa’s run down. Pained Margetts to give it too.


I have 2 things to say:

I don’t think there is a conspiracy by any stretch of the imagination. I DO however firmly believe that a few umpires are incredibly inept and have no fkn clue how to do their jobs. Pannell, Nicholls and Fisher are absolutely hopeless and a huge cut below the rest. The first two in particular have a huge love for changing interpretations on the run and plucking things or making a point of something.

Secondly and more importantly, the rules are innately flawed and leave themselves open to huge ambiguity and most of all, “flavour of the round/game” interpretations where an interpretation is set and adjudicated in a certain way for the game for no reason other than the umpires feel like it and make the first decision in a certain way.

Incorrect disposal vs “knocked out in the tackle” and how this is affected by the player “making an effort” to dispose of the footy. How can you honestly expect uniformity in this rule? It’s impossible and the rules are innately flawed in this sense as they basically leave this up to the umpire’s discretion.
Sliding rule vs high contact. Even before you get into the fact that the sliding rule was an unnecessary, reactionary change to a rule as a result of a couple of unfortunate injuries, these two rules are frequently completely at odds with one another and quite often require the umpire to completely arbitrarily choose which one he wants to pay…
This is a personal bugbear of mine but often the umpires choose to (and sometimes for better rather than worse which makes it even worse) go with the “feel” rather than adjudicate properly. A prime example today was Kelly getting pinged HTB despite being tackled over the line… as I understand it the rules clearly state that the tackle has to be completed within the field of play ie. despite being stone cold HTB it should have been a throw in. I saw Heppell vs North be pinged for deliberate OOB when he was tackled over the line once! Just because it “felt” right!


Outside the obvious missed frees in the third, I didn’t notice maggots today