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Umpiring article

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I thought some might find this article interesting.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/aug/23/has-the-afl-reached-a-point-where-it-is-just-about-impossible-to-adjudicate

Having lost all interest in the season and not much caring who wins in most matches I've watched, I have been able to judge umpiring decisions with less emotional bias than usual.  It's worse than ever before.  I can't wait to see what new rules the AFL introduces to make umpiring even harder in 2020.

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28 minutes ago, sue said:

I thought some might find this article interesting.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/aug/23/has-the-afl-reached-a-point-where-it-is-just-about-impossible-to-adjudicate

Having lost all interest in the season and not much caring who wins in most matches I've watched, I have been able to judge umpiring decisions with less emotional bias than usual.  It's worse than ever before.  I can't wait to see what new rules the AFL introduces to make umpiring even harder in 2020.

A very good article. In a nutshell how many of us feel without doubt. 

Too many rules changes in too short a timeframe - many of them negatively affecting the spectacle. 

Oh, and the crowd behaviour and brawls becoming more prevalent.... is that purely drug and alcohol related? Or can this umpiring ‘angst’ the writer speaks of be a huge variable in the increasingly violent crowd environment?

I have zero faith in the current AFL administration solving any of these issues but complete and utter faith they will continue to add to the angst. 

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The AFL will change the rules / interpretations on a whim. The spectators will be upset, the players will be confused, the umpires will cop it from the crowd every week, the AFL will deny there's an issue and it will be business as usual next year.

The dees will get the rough end of the pineapple as per usual.

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Here are the three things I would replace:

  • the deliberate out of bounds rule even though its purpose is sound. It's too subjective. Go back to out on the full only.
  • the ruck nomination rule. It slows down the game substantially as the umpires wait, not just for the nomination to be made, but for the lumbering ruckmen to make it to the point where the ruck contest is to take place
  • Stephen Hocking
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5 minutes ago, La Dee-vina Comedia said:

Here are the three things I would replace:

  • the deliberate out of bounds rule even though its purpose is sound. It's too subjective. Go back to out on the full only.
  • the ruck nomination rule. It slows down the game substantially as the umpires wait, not just for the nomination to be made, but for the lumbering ruckmen to make it to the point where the ruck contest is to take place
  • Stephen Hocking

the last first ;)

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Pull back interchange rotations to a minimum each quarter (10)

get rid of deliberate out of bounds

it is illegal to throw the ball, so stop it

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8 minutes ago, Sir Why You Little said:

Pull back interchange rotations to a minimum each quarter (10)

get rid of deliberate out of bounds

it is illegal to throw the ball, so stop it

Min or max.

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Kicking backwards outside of your own fwd 50 should be play on.

Team prior opportunity for HTB rather than individual prior opp. If you're hot you shouldn't be able to handball to a teammate and remove prior opp

15 interchange rotations per qtr. Reduce to 10 the following year.

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22 minutes ago, Moonshadow said:

Kicking backwards outside of your own fwd 50 should be play on.

Team prior opportunity for HTB rather than individual prior opp. If you're hot you shouldn't be able to handball to a teammate and remove prior opp

15 interchange rotations per qtr. Reduce to 10 the following year.

The issue that needs addressing is the difficulty for umpires to make decisions with so much subjective interpretation. While I understand where you're coming from, I doubt umpires at ground level will be able to  be certain about the first point and the second idea will be very much open to interpretation.

Your last recommendation I agree with. If it does waht we think it will do, there should be fewer players consistently around the ball which should make it easier for the umpires to adjudicate.

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Imagine that Aussie Rules is an international sport. With test matches between countries. New Guinea are playing Denmark. The umpires are Japanese.

Should the players be able to understand the refereeing? Should the umpires need to do anything other than blow the whistle, indicate the frees (with the usual arm gestures) and shout "play on" (which hopefully any player could learn to recognise)?

If the umpires need to be saying "Back two, Bjorn. Back two steps, mate. Back two." or "Hold! Hold, Mekere! Hold!" or "Fifteen gone" or any of the other instructions we hear every single match, then something has gone wrong.

Umpires coaching players is one symptom that the AFL have lost control.

The very idea of "interpretations" of rules is another - an admission that rules are ambiguous and/or badly thought out in the first place.

So many areas pointed out in the posts above where things can be tightened up dramatically (throwing, ruck nominations, OOB, etc). How did things come to this pass?

To me, any attempt by the AFL to address even these obvious flaws are doomed unless they first revise their basic thinking on what the umpires are supposed to be doing. They're not coaches. They're not mind readers. They're not peers of the players. They're not part of the entertainment experience.

First step is to adjudicate to the rule book as it is written. The AFL don't even need to do this to live games. Just watch replays and for every game situation, run to the rule book to see what the rules actually say and what the decision should be, or if any decision is needed at all. Step two, which hopefully would quickly follow, is to rewrite the rule book to eliminate the many ambiguities and omissions thereby exposed. It's amazing how many rules are poorly worded.

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Every year there are rule changes, and every year players are forced to deal with that, or in the end they're discarded due to lack of performance.

Every year there are rule changes, and every year umpires should be forced to deal with that, or in the end they should be discarded for lack of performance.

There is however another factor at play here, which none of us are aware of. The secret directives coming from the AFL for umpires to pay certain rules, not pay others, interpret a rule in a different way. This is the problem, and this is why it's become impossible to umpire. The throws coming out of tackles, which all the top teams are doing now is clearly against the rules of the game, yet ignored, who's idea was that? The Gawn straight arm rule, it's not written like that anywhere, where'd it come from?

Perfect example. Read this article and in particular the quotes from everyone's favourite umpire. https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/below-the-knees-unless-they-change-the-rule-they-ll-keep-paying-it-20190408-p51c2o.html

That rule has been a shocker. It was initially introduced to stop players sliding into a players legs causing injuries. The umpires are being coached to pay a free kick for anything forceful below the knees. It's not the same.

The deliberate OOB rule is a joke. Asking an umpire to look deep into the mind of the disposer to know if they were deliberately kicking the ball out? I mean come on, it doesn't get more amateur than that. They probably get it right more than wrong though, so kudos.

If anything needs an external review, it's AFL rules and officiating.

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5 minutes ago, Mazer Rackham said:

Imagine that Aussie Rules is an international sport. With test matches between countries. New Guinea are playing Denmark. The umpires are Japanese.

Should the players be able to understand the refereeing? Should the umpires need to do anything other than blow the whistle, indicate the frees (with the usual arm gestures) and shout "play on" (which hopefully any player could learn to recognise)?

If the umpires need to be saying "Back two, Bjorn. Back two steps, mate. Back two." or "Hold! Hold, Mekere! Hold!" or "Fifteen gone" or any of the other instructions we hear every single match, then something has gone wrong.

Umpires coaching players is one symptom that the AFL have lost control.

The very idea of "interpretations" of rules is another - an admission that rules are ambiguous and/or badly thought out in the first place.

So many areas pointed out in the posts above where things can be tightened up dramatically (throwing, ruck nominations, OOB, etc). How did things come to this pass?

To me, any attempt by the AFL to address even these obvious flaws are doomed unless they first revise their basic thinking on what the umpires are supposed to be doing. They're not coaches. They're not mind readers. They're not peers of the players. They're not part of the entertainment experience.

First step is to adjudicate to the rule book as it is written. The AFL don't even need to do this to live games. Just watch replays and for every game situation, run to the rule book to see what the rules actually say and what the decision should be, or if any decision is needed at all. Step two, which hopefully would quickly follow, is to rewrite the rule book to eliminate the many ambiguities and omissions thereby exposed. It's amazing how many rules are poorly worded.

Exactly right.

This idea of interpretations, especially happening during the season is absurd at best. Having professional players expected to go out and perform to their best when they don't even know what rules are going to be applied? It's ridiculous.

Edited by FireInTheBelly
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2 hours ago, Mazer Rackham said:

The very idea of "interpretations" of rules is another - an admission that rules are ambiguous and/or badly thought out in the first place.

Nailed it. The changing rules now enable 'interpretations' to creep into game outcomes - as DL posters have stated to death about the performances of the green snot goblins. It leads to 'intentional' variance and advantage; the true tailoring of games, opening up games for the highest income stream potential. 

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7 hours ago, sue said:

I thought some might find this article interesting.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/aug/23/has-the-afl-reached-a-point-where-it-is-just-about-impossible-to-adjudicate

Having lost all interest in the season and not much caring who wins in most matches I've watched, I have been able to judge umpiring decisions with less emotional bias than usual.  It's worse than ever before.  I can't wait to see what new rules the AFL introduces to make umpiring even harder in 2020.

I haven't bothered reading the article but will say what I want to anyway. The more subjective the rules the more difficult the game is to umpire, which leads to controversial decisions. Controversy means there is more to talk about AFL from Monday to Thursday which is good for ratings and revenue.

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57 minutes ago, Deemania since 56 said:

Nailed it. The changing rules now enable 'interpretations' to creep into game outcomes - as DL posters have stated to death about the performances of the green snot goblins. It leads to 'intentional' variance and advantage; the true tailoring of games, opening up games for the highest income stream potential. 

Interpretations, especially ones that change from week to week and even mid round (i.e Max Gawn ruck rule) are brilliant as they fire up the unwashed masses. 

To fix the state of rules and umpiring is the same as dealing with a toodler having a tantrum, don't react to it and the AFL will stop changing the rules to create controversy.

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The concept of interpretation of the rules is pernicious and I can't think of any other sport where it is a "thing".

Every AFL media commentator has happily and unwittingly bought into this bogus concept and will discuss the ins and outs of the "interpretation" of this or that rule til the cows come home, all the while ignoring that "interpretation" means the "rules" (properly known as "laws of the game") are not the same from week to week, depending on the whim of the AFL .... commission? CEO? SHocking? Who, exactly? Any or all, it seems.

"The chair umpire awarded an ace to Mr Federer on match point although the serve was technically a 'double fault' because, according to the current interpretation of the fault rule, Mr Federer did not intend his foot to be inside the court as he served."

"The umpire ruled Smith was out LBW, even though the ball pitched outside leg, because according to the current interpretation of the LBW rule, in the umpire's opinion, Smith would have missed the ball even if it had pitched in line. Further, the match referee declined to censure the umpire for high-fiving the bowler, as it was decided that harmonious player-umpire relations are good for attendances and TV ratings."

It's absurd and wrong and I can't understand why the commission hasn't stamped out this bogus concept. Except I can. "Actions speak louder than words." They don't give a flying [censored].

 

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3 minutes ago, chookrat said:

Interpretations, especially ones that change from week to week and even mid round (i.e Max Gawn ruck rule) are brilliant as they fire up the unwashed masses. 

To fix the state of rules and umpiring is the same as dealing with a toodler having a tantrum, don't react to it and the AFL will stop changing the rules to create controversy.

Sadly that won't work because the AFL will just increase the outrageousness of its changes till we are all screaming in pain.  It's about time the clubs banded together to rein in the AFL.

 

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Just now, sue said:

Sadly that won't work because the AFL will just increase the outrageousness of its changes till we are all screaming in pain.  It's about time the clubs banded together to rein in the AFL.

 

Sue, they may even go full toddler and introduce AFLX rounds for premiership points or half time cheerleaders. 

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16 minutes ago, chookrat said:

Sue, they may even go full toddler and introduce AFLX rounds for premiership points or half time cheerleaders. 

Spider-man will adjudicate depending on whose supporters have bought more merchandise

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1 hour ago, Mazer Rackham said:

The concept of interpretation of the rules is pernicious and I can't think of any other sport where it is a "thing".

Every AFL media commentator has happily and unwittingly bought into this bogus concept and will discuss the ins and outs of the "interpretation" of this or that rule til the cows come home, all the while ignoring that "interpretation" means the "rules" (properly known as "laws of the game") are not the same from week to week, depending on the whim of the AFL .... commission? CEO? SHocking? Who, exactly? Any or all, it seems.

"The chair umpire awarded an ace to Mr Federer on match point although the serve was technically a 'double fault' because, according to the current interpretation of the fault rule, Mr Federer did not intend his foot to be inside the court as he served."

"The umpire ruled Smith was out LBW, even though the ball pitched outside leg, because according to the current interpretation of the LBW rule, in the umpire's opinion, Smith would have missed the ball even if it had pitched in line. Further, the match referee declined to censure the umpire for high-fiving the bowler, as it was decided that harmonious player-umpire relations are good for attendances and TV ratings."

It's absurd and wrong and I can't understand why the commission hasn't stamped out this bogus concept. Except I can. "Actions speak louder than words." They don't give a flying [censored].

 

Very interesting and valid concepts. Great examples from other sports, other forms of umpiring. 

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6 hours ago, La Dee-vina Comedia said:

Your last recommendation I agree with. If it does waht we think it will do, there should be fewer players consistently around the ball which should make it easier for the umpires to adjudicate.

clubs will just recruit athletes in lieu of skills, which for me will cause a lot more angst when handballs and kicks miss targets. 

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2 hours ago, Demonised said:

And how's 666 gone? Remedied the low scoring?

Not immediately like we all thought it would but irregardless any change like this will eventually be exploited by coaches and game strategists. 

Was a shizen change to begin with though. 

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The game has become unwatchable, if we were in the 8 it might be bareable but we are not so I just don’t watch any game anymore 

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