Umpires are over umpiring

Peter Keenan June 18, 2012, 2:24 am


Usually by this time of the year the umpires start to cop a bagging. It's been happening for 100 years.

But over the weekend a few red hot decisions did influence the outcome of important games.

You could argue that West Coast's poor accuracy in front of goal was the only reason Carlton were still in the match on Thursday night but the crucial decisions and the 50m penalty actually affected the result.

And on Sunday when the battling Brisbane Lions were hanging for grim life against the Hawthorn juggernaut, a very doubtful free kick for holding the ball was paid against Matt Maguire, leading to a game-changing goal to Lance Franklin.

At that stage I just shook my head in disbelief.

It seems now that if you go in and get the ball and the opposition pile on top of you the umpire will pay a free kick against you.

Of course if you are a player or league official you are not allowed to criticise umpires because there is no such thing as free speech when it comes to the AFL.

But all we want from the umpires is consistency. Whether they are consistently good or consistently bad, they just need to be consistent.

In the old days the umpires would come and have a drink with you after the game to discuss the decisions that were made so you understood where they were coming from.

Now they are taken away in their little ivory castle and locked away to do their review. There is no comradeship between players and umpires anymore.

Once upon a time you could actually talk to the umpire and ask him about his decision. Now you will get a 50m penalty if you even look sideways at him.

Let's get rid of this 50m business forever and make it 25. Fifty metres is too far. It can turn a game and in plenty of cases the penalty is unwarranted in the first place.

We are over umpiring our game. Let the play flow and for god sake give the bloke who's going for the ball a chance to do something with it.