AFL legend slams umpires in bounce debate

The iconic AFL bounce could be in its final days, with the Commission to meet next week to discuss its fate.

 

A growing number of umpires want it dumped for good, but footy legend Kevin Bartlett is furious that another of the game's traditions is set for the scrap heap.

"It's got to stay and let's hope the AFL Commission make the right choice," Bartlett told 7News on Tuesday.

"It's not a hybrid game, we don't need a tip-off.

Have we seen the last of the bounce? Image: Getty

"Australian Rules is a quirky, unique game and we want it to remain that way."

Senior umpires have raised health and safety concerns after a rise in back injuries, but Bartlett thinks that's a smokescreen.

"I don't give that any weight whatsoever," he said.

"The umpires of old...they must have been iron men because they bounced the ball by themselves and umpired the game single-handedly."

Bartlett isn't happy. Image: Getty

The bounce has also been considered a disruption for up-and-coming umpires, who do not use it in lower levels of footy.

Chief footy reporter Mark Stevens recently revealed on 7News that the bounce is "all but done" at the AFL level.

"I believe (the bounce is) really on the edge, in fact it's perhaps unlikely to be in at all next year," Stevens said in August.

"A senior umpire was at an official dinner last week and admitted it's all but done.

"We hope the bounce remains but it looks over."

Meanwhile, former Hawthorn head coach Peter Schwab has been dumped as head of the AFL umpiring department after less than a year in the position.

New AFL general manager of football operations Steve Hocking announced on Tuesday that Schwab had finished up in his role.

"Whilst I have enjoyed my year being the national head of umpiring and I thank the AFL for the opportunity, I have come to realise my passion and skill set lie more with football than they do with umpiring," Schwab said in a statement.

Schwab. Image: Getty

Hocking will now undertake a wide-ranging review of the development and coaching program for umpires.

"Attracting and supporting umpires at every level of our game remains a considerable challenge, and building increased capacity in our umpiring department is a critical task for me as the new GM Football," Hocking said.

Schwab replaced Wayne Campbell as the AFL umpires boss in December 2016 after the latter was appointed general manager of football at Greater Western Sydney.

Schwab, 57, coached Hawthorn for five years from 2000-04, having previously played 171 games for the Hawks.

with AAP

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