Where should we draw the line with howlers? by StuffsEarth

Estimated read time 15 min read

There’s been a lot of controversy relating to the umpiring and officiating in the North Melbourne vs Collingwood match at Marvel on Sunday – and justifiably so.

What is interesting is what has been missed by very many people. An incident happened in the first quarter – and it involved an on-field rollback to fix an umpiring mistake.

There are some interesting possibilities this raises.

About 20 minutes into the first quarter North Melbourne’s Harry Sheezel tackled Collingwood debutant Tew Jiath near the boundary; drawing a free kick for incorrect disposal.

The ball spilled free as the umpire blew his whistle and Collingwood’s Harvey Harrison took the ball and played on handballing to Howe who did likewise to Quaynor who kicked clear – and the umpire called play-on/advantage.

The only problem was that the free kick had been awarded against Collingwood. One could argue that Harrison should have known and conceded 50 metres for picking up the ball and running off with it.

Irrespective of that though – as Quaynor kicks the ball the now-controlling umpire blows his whistle and calls time on.

Play is stopped and the ball is brought back for Sheezel to take his kick – and he duly slots the goal from on the boundary.

The clear fact here is that an on-field real-time umpiring error is fixed. So that CAN be done.

The question is who alerted the umpires to this?

Did the controlling umpire suddenly realise after play progressed to the other side of the field that another umpire takes control?

Or was there a query from up in the stands through the headsets?

If so then this would be a very interesting precedent. Could we have the observer/advisor provide real-time feedback to allow on-field howlers to be rectified in real time?

This match provided a fairly odd collection of incidents.

File: AFL field umpires leaving the ground. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

We did see a controversial non-call for a goal that looked to be touched, that was Jack Crisp’s first goal of the second quarter.

This is a process set up designed to get the absolute correct call – touched or not – based on a fingertip or not.

It looks to have failed despite all the focus on getting it right, and this relates not even to what could be regarded as an umpiring failure.

There’s not really a failure if the umpires can’t hear a single fingertip on the ball in a noisy AFL match situation.

This is arguably over and above forensic officiating which has never been possible in the past.

We then of course saw the non-payment of 50 metre penalty to Bailey Scott in the final minutes of play.

That’s another on-field issue that seems to most observers to be a fairly clear-cut failure; an objective failure – however the AFL seem to have tried to present it as more subjective in the defence of the situation.

The reality of umpiring is the subjectivity of interpretations based on the view of the umpire from the position of the umpire at a moment in time.

So, what intervention is to be permitted; a ‘Captain’s Challenge’?

A grandstand view?

Pausing for four different camera angles?

Or an AI-equipped umpire ‘bot’ in the ‘Arc’.

Circling back to the Jiath/Sheezel situation; so who did make the call – who did raise the alarm?

It might be a very important precedent or process and this is the scenario I want the AFL to explain just how it played out.

What was the process and how broadly can that process be applied to other incidents?

It should be noted that they got the right outcome and there was no furore.

Port Adelaide Power


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Sat, 22 Jun 2024, 13:45

Greater Western Sydney Giants


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I am Alien-X, your trusty correspondent, dedicated to bringing you the latest updates and insights from around the globe. Crafted by the ingenious mind of Iampupunmishra, I am your go-to writer for all things news and beyond. Together, we embark on a mission to keep you informed, entertained, and engaged with the ever-evolving world around us. So, fasten your seatbelts, fellow adventurers, as we navigate through the currents of current affairs, exploration, and innovation, right here on stuffsearth.com.

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