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Mazer Rackham

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Mazer Rackham last won the day on April 14

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About Mazer Rackham

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  1. Twain was a Fremantle supporter. What would he know?
  2. If you think you're running a sporting competition, then umpire conflicts of interest, an MRP that favours star players, badly written rules, and woeful application of the rules are things that are key to your interests and you would be burning to get on top of them. But if you think you're running a sport-based theme park, or a sport-themed reality TV show where ratings and $$$$ are how you keep score, then all of the above are small potatoes and simply part of the drama. "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" -- Mark Twain, probably, or Benjamin Disraeli. (Or Wilde.)
  3. Daisy Thomas ... if he had made the comments publicly, then throw the book. But he didn't. The ump wasn't even mic'ed up. He shouldn't be abusing the umpire, so penalise him. But let the punishment fit the crime. Making it public only increases the problem for the AFL. Speaking of crimes ... the whole affair is a crystallisation of the way the AFL have lost control of the refereeing of their comp. From the AFL web site: In pleading guilty, Thomas admitted to calling Barlow a "f***ing cheat" after misunderstanding the umpire's instructions to Giants players as the officiator attempted to sort starting positions before a restart of play. The Giants had seven men in their forward 50 after a goal, before Barlow attempted to assist them in avoiding receiving a warning due to the AFL's newly imposed 6-6-6 rules. Thomas, who didn't believe umpires were allowed to do this, called to Barlow and repeatedly said: "You can't tell them that d***head … you're a f***ing cheat." It has since been confirmed by the AFL that boundary and field umpires have been instructed to assist teams in ensuring they uphold the starting position rules, and that teams were informed of this prior to the commencement of the 2019 season. WTF? "the umpire's instructions to Giants players" ... "Barlow attempted to assist them" ... "umpires have been instructed to assist team in ensuring they uphold the starting position rules " ... WHY are the umps coaching the players? They are supposed to know the rules. I can understand some leniency or a moratorium for the first 2 or 3 rounds ... but we're getting to the halfway point of the season. All they need to do is give ONE free kick ... especially if that results in a goal. Coaches will go ape and the teams will sort out 666 in no time flat. This helicopter parenting by the AFL is what is causing the problem.
  4. Sometimes the answer is staring us in the face. WHY? Because they don't think it's a problem! If it was affecting TV audiences, sponsorships, or crowds, it would be fixed up pretty quick smart. As it is, it's obviously not a concern for Gil and his merry crew. TL;DR: the AFL don't care
  5. So because we can never get perfection, we should give up trying to improve. Try applying that to other fields of human endeavour. We'd still be living in caves. No one has said they want "every decision to be correct." Not even you. People want fairness and consistency. People can cop a wrong decision here and there ... what they can't cop is when a decision is made (say push in the back), the ball goes down the other end, same thing happens in reverse, no free. We understand that umpires are human. (That's the rumour anyway.) We're not asking for robotic perfection. Just fairness and consistency. To answer your question, a great start would be to ... 1. remove the notion of "interpretation". The paradigm of "interpretation" of rules is all wrong. That the AFL at all levels has bought into this bogus notion is the root of all evil. There is no other sport I can think of where there is "interpretation" of the rules. Nearest I can think of is golf. But even that is not "interpretation." It is more like "clarification" or "explanation". When you read the rules of golf, you encounter the rule as it is writ, then a bunch of scenarios explaining how to apply it. So that when it's 5PM on a Satdee arvo and a foursome stranded way out on the 15th green has a dispute, they can drag out the rule book and see how to apply the rule in question. And every golfer on every course around the world should be able to make the same determination. Squash is another one that comes to mind ... the contentious "let" rule causes the most grief. But the rules take great pains to elaborate and explain when and when not to apply the "let" rule. There's no "interpretation" involved. The rule is a bit tricky, but the application of the rule does not change from week to week, season to season. 2. Have all AFL officials from Gil down read the rules and do an umpires' test. OK, not the typing pool. Not the janitor. But most of them, especially the media/public facing ones, should have a sound knowledge of the rules. This particularly applies to people like the tribunal members, the MRP, and directors of umpiring (in particular I am sure Peter "attacking third of the ground" Schwab and Jeff "natural arc" Gieschen had never picked up the rules book at all). 3. Go over the rules and remove all the glaring chasm-like gaps. One example: we all know that you can't take too long when taking a free kick. Seven seconds, I think? Otherwise the ump will call "play on". Well ... yes, and no! It's not in the rules at all. Nowhere. Nor is the "30 second countdown clock" when taking a shot. The commentator's nightmare, "this could affect the outcome of a grand final!!!" is right there hidden in plain view. Not grand finals, but other matches HAVE been decided by this "rule" in the dying seconds. It's not even an "interpretation". It's an invention of someone at the AFL and the umps have jumped on board, willingly or not. The rule book is full of inconsistencies like that. The umps have an uphill job, trying to apply rules that are poorly written. No, pathetically written. Grappling with the bogus travesty of "interpretation", administered by people who don't know the rules as they are written ... no wonder all umps have to retire at 40 because they have been driven insane. It's a wonder they last that long. There is plenty that can be done to improve the umpiring, and none of it requires attaining perfection.
  6. With no elections on the cards for another 3 years or so, the various parties can safely ignore us. (Assuming we weren't being ignored anyway.)
  7. At last, we're keeping up with the big dogs of the competition
  8. Yes, he should be taking action of his own initiative to get on top of this. But "in his own time" is a bit of an issue, as the players' training and rehab, etc, are micromanaged to the minute. Almost literally. Their bodies are like taut rubber bands and the fear is that extra minutes will cause something to snap. So we see Tracc drowning himself instead of devoting himself to the number one weakness in his game. It's backwards.
  9. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. Is that any excuse for the umpiring standards to get consistently worse over time? Is that any excuse for the AFL to burden umpires with their overlaying of "interpretations" which change with the phase of the moon? Wouldn't it be the intention of a fair dinkum competition to improve the refereeing? Now we're getting somewhere ... Funny you should mention that. Yes I can. Please read on ... Read my post #2 in this very thread to find out whether I think there is bias involved or not. (hint: not biased, just bad.) Take the Rampe goalpost thing. The rule says, if you intentionally shake the post, it's a free kick on the goal line. The word intentionally so that when you & I are trying to mark the ball, and in doing so we slam into the post, and it shakes, we don't give away a free kick. But when Rampe climbs on the post, apparently with the intention of trying to touch the ball as it went through. Mad, but there you are. In doing so, it caused the post to shake. Was that his intention? Probably not. Now he was clearly seeking an unfair advantage; it was against the spirit of the game, and deserved to give away a free kick. But there is nothing in the rules about climbing on the goal post. So the AFL tied themselves in a knot clearing Rampe, then fining him. (a bit like being fined for not tanking.) Grey area or poorly written rules? Another example of self-inflicted harm: the "protected" zone. So the AFL noticed that some players, in taking a free kick, were being molested by opposition players lurking near by, waiting to pounce the instant the player with the ball played on. Enter the protected zone. So now we have the spectacle of players running near the player with the ball, with no intention of tackling or blocking ... they are simply trying to set up for the next phase of play. But they are in the protected zone ... fortunately the umps are red hot on this, except that they aren't, and we see multiple instances in every match of invasion of the protected zone, and usually one (1) is penalised, seemingly at random. Why have this rule if it is enforced only some of the time? Grey area or poorly enforced rule? Has this brilliant new protected zone fixed the other blight on the game, players lurking behind the man on the mark ready to block or shepherd for the man with the ball? No, because behind the man on the mark is not in the protected zone. It's permitted. Why "fix" one and not the other? Grey area or poorly thought out rule? (The rule should not be about "zones" but about "interference" ... the player with the free kick should be permitted to freely dispose of the pill without interference, and the player on the mark should also not be interfered with.) The AFL's attitude to rule enforcement is also on display when we examine the "deliberate out of bounds" rule. At some time, the AFL decided this was against the spirit of the game, an intolerable act which must be stamped out. So in comes the DOOB rule, which was enforced in Stalinist fashion ... anything even half resembling a potential DOOB was penalised. So why then do we have this hand wringing about "throwing" the ball ... that we can't clamp down because what if (heaven forbid) a player with a technically correct handpass got penalised for throwing? So players freely throw the ball. No, not freely. Blatantly. Why not then apply the "no tolerance" approach to throwing, which is far more against the spirit of game, not to mention the look, than DOOB? The players would adjust in a New York minute and there would be no more throwing practically overnight. Grey area or poor enforcement of the existing rules? Another example is incorrect disposal. But by now I suspect you're getting the point. These things are all self inflicted and have nothing to do with any inherent difficulty of umpiring Australian Rules football. The AFL has burdened itself with its casual and inconsistent oversight of the refereeing of its game, in the name of "entertainment". There have always been complaints about umpiring -- it's part of the territory -- but there has never been such confusion amongst players, fans and commentators as there is now. Grey areas, or poorly thought out rules, poorly worded, poorly enforced, and poorly administered from the top? It's a recipe for confusion, resentment, and outcry. Which is what we're seeing. Over to you, AFL.
  10. There have been multiple studies that show that umpires in all sports are affected by home town crowds. Basically they involve experienced refs picking rules infringements with the sound on and the sound off. With the sound on, they pick more "frees" (violations, what have you) in favour of the home crowd. In every study. The AFL has an "integrity" department. (Legend has it.) Whether that is an actual office with real people staffing it, or if it's a waste paper basket in the corner of Gil's office, if the AFL had real integrity, they would not permit "home town" officials. Caesar's wife and all that. (Cricket no longer permits "home country" umps, and hasn't for many years, for that very reason -- the appearance of it.) They have empirical evidence that home town bias is real, and still do absolutely nothing about it. Manifestly, they don't care. The AFL competition is a joke wherein the umps do not adjudicate to the rule book. No-one knows what the standard is they do referee too. And the officiating body does not not seem to know either, does not seem to care, gives a free pass for objectively faulty decisions, and charges the players (literally) for the faults of the referees. It's a joke, corrupt competition that has lost its way in pursuit of ratings and $$$$. If it were not for my foolish and inexplicable devotion to the mighty MFC, I would pay it the same attention I do to the 2nd tier Czech handball comp, ie, none.
  11. Correction. The umps have been diabolical in every game this year, even the ones we're not in. It becomes more noticeable when we're losing.
  12. Tracc has shocking technique. And probably a frazzled mind. But fix the technique first. It says a lot of about "sports science" that something this fundamental can be permitted to exist in a top tier player. Garlett was one of the pioneers of the "small forward prefers to bumble it through off the outside of the boot" technique which quickly became popular. He's a good kick but prefers the flashy low percentage shot. All it does is give the ball a chance to take a funny bounce and miss. Kick it straight and land it in the crowd! And speaking of landing it in the crowd. If players are fixated on technique in the heat of the moment, they will fluff it. In another thread there was talk about kicking torps. Doug Wade kicked over 1000 goals using the torp exclusively. His secret: pick out someone in the crowd and kick it to them. Our guys clearly have mental demons and need to simplify the thought process. (And fix Tracc's technique.)
  13. Squandered. How many opportunities do these guys want? We needed to be 5 goals up at 3/4 time and could have done it if we didn't flub our chances so much. As for the umpiring ... my god. Have they ever read the rule book? Playing on from out of bounds, head high tackle while ball still in bounds, rampant throwing, incorrect disposal umpteen times, short kicks, running too far ... what do the umps think is in the rulebook? Oh that's right, don't need one. It's the vibe.
  14. Ablett will go down as one of the greats. And no-one will argue against that. His acts of the last two weeks have possibly been out of character, and in the context of his illustrious career, are un-Gazlike, but balanced against his 300+ games and Brownlows, will not be what he is remembered for. Taken out of context and viewed in isolation as acts committed by "player X", they are not good viewing and if committed by (say) Tommy Bugg, people would be baying for his suspension for sheer stupidity if nothing else. Gaz definitely got out of jail, twice. But the debate and upset has not really been about Ablett. What the last 2 weeks have shown, is the crystallisation of the AFL's immense hypocrisy and double standards. Long suspected by many, in no doubt by many more, the loss of control of the game by the AFL has been on clear display. Player X hits a player from behind, with an elbow, while airborne, and gets the benefit of the doubt (a fine only). Player Y, after the ball has left the vicinity, hits a player in the head with an elbow, while airborne, and gets off completely! Player Z commits a rough shepherd, catches a player high, gets off completely. Player ZZ commits a fair shepherd, catches a player high, and cops a week. Nothing to see here. Add in the AFL's sanctimony about "the head is sacrosanct", "the look of the incident", "potential to cause injury" ... These are merely mahjongg tiles to the AFL, to be used when convenient and held back when not. At the same time, Rampe climbing the goal post exposed the AFL on another front. The way the rule is worded, the player must have the intention to shake the post. As it was, it appeared Rampe was trying some ludicrous stunt whereby he might touch the ball before it went through. (Like so many rules of the game, that one is worded poorly and ill-thought out. It should forbid interfering with the goal post, which would cover many ills while not barring incidental contact while marking, tackling, etc.) Faced with the controversy, the AFL chicken out by first saying the ump was right, then that it wouldn't matter anyway because of the state of the match, thereby giving the umpires licence to decide when to follow the rulebook and when to "go with the vibe" of the moment. (Note AFL: these are not "rules of thumb" or "guidelines", they are, in your own words, the "laws of the game".) Then to rub it in, having cleared Rampe of wrongdoing, the AFL give him a please explain and a fine. Then victimise him, because they can, over his verbal abuse of the ump. We can now look forward to weekly $10K fines for umpire abuse. (Ha! Ha! Of course I am being flippant.) Gil is the one who needs the please explain. The laws of the game (and their "interpretation", another sick joke not extant in any other sport) have never been as fluid as they are now. Confusion is at an all time high, precedent means nothing, and umpires are now given licence to factor in "the vibe". Gil has lost the plot. If these matters have him flailing to this extent, he has evidently lost his footballing moral compass and is no longer fit to head the controlling body. We appreciate the cheaper pies, Gil, but the game is slipping away from you, and from us, the fans.
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