May 1st, 2006 at 12:38am
Due to the controversial end to the AFL match between St. Kilda and Fremantle at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, and the official protest surounding it, I will be waiting for the outcome of today’s meeting between AFL and club officials before calculating the results of my footy tips.
The outcome is unlikely to change, as technically no rules were broken, however the exact manner in which the match ended is something which will come under close scrutiny.
AFL officials were unavailable for comment after the match, I was listening to 3AW Football through 2CA and they managed to speak to just about everybody involved except the AFL officials. Even team officials reported being unable to contact AFL officials.
For those of you who haven’t heard the news or clicked on the link above, here is what happened according to Seven News.
Fremantle has launched an official protest over Sunday’s controversial AFL draw against St Kilda at Aurora Stadium in Launceston.
Dockers officials lodged paperwork with the umpires a few minutes after the match, where the Saints scored 13.16 (94) and Fremantle ended on 14.10 (94).
The ground siren’s volume was not loud enough all day and field umpire Matthew Nicholls failed to hear it at the end of the game.
Fremantle led by a point when the siren went, but Nicholls let play continue, bouncing the ball as Dockers players complained.
Approximately nine seconds later, St Kilda’s Steven Baker kicked a behind to level the scores before the umpires ended the game.
Baker was then given another chance after being awarded a free kick after disposal, but that shot also went through for a point.
Dockers coach Chris Connolly and several other bemused Fremantle officials were on the ground as the drama played out.
The AFL football operations staff are currently discussing the matter with the umpires and timekeepers.
This will be interesting to say the least. The rules as they stand are open to exploitation by umpires as they decide when the game ends, however that is unlikely to change due to the simple fact that technology does fail, and a human needs to be able to make the decision. Perhaps we need a “third umpire” to assist with the decision if the ground umpires don’t hear the siren. Admittedly this wouldn’t be a “third umpire” as there are already three main umpires, two goal umpires, two boundary umpires and an emergency umpire, so perhaps the term “grandstand umpire” would be best.
Personally I think the AFL could use Hawkeye, the system which is able to accurately track the ball through a three dimensional space. It wouldn’t solve the issue of timekeeping, but it would be useful in cases where the umpires aren’t sure if the ball has been touched prior to going through the goals or touched prior to going out on the full, or even in cases where it is unclear whether the ball has bounced in the field of play or gone out on the full, and especially useful when the ball goes too high for the umpires to clearly know whether it has gone through for a goal, behind, or out of bounds.
Surely this (and general overseeing of umpiring decisions) would be a good use of a “grandstand umpire”.