Coaches and players will have access to vision used by umpires and to notes taken during their weekly debrief in an initiative designed to generate greater understanding.
Umpires Association chief executive Peter Howe said the move would help clubs and hopefully debunk a theory umpires have a ”rule of the week” during the season, when it can seem a certain rule has been focused on because of controversy from a match the previous weekend.
Howe said the system would prove umpires maintained a balanced view on all rules.
”It demystifies the whole process. The clubs are able to see what the umpires are being coached on and those sort of things,” Howe said. ”They will realise there isn’t a rule of the week, and that sort of stuff. I think it’s quite good.
”What it does is continue to improve the relationship between the umpiring department and all the clubs.”
Clubs already have access to vision through the host broadcaster, but the emailed notes will go some way to shedding light on an umpire’s interpretation of a particular incident, analysed during their midweek training session.
”The clubs will get everything that is run in the coaching session. Pretty much what happens in the coaching session is that the umpires will want to see a range of decisions that they have seen on the weekend, and seek clarification of,” Howe said.
He said these would not necessarily be contentious decisions.
”Sometimes they are more things that rarely happen. Particularly with a number of new rules now, like contact below the knees and those sorts of things, they will be looking to provide examples of those,” Howe said.
”What it will do for clubs is allow them to see what the umpires have been talking about and the vision they see.”
There was a similar system years ago during the tenure of previous AFLUA boss Bill Deller, when umpiring notes were faxed to clubs and the media, but that disappeared.
The initiative should also help clubs understand better why, for instance, the contentious negating tactics of a tagger or run-with player were approved or penalised.
In his time in the AFL’s umpiring department, Howe, also a field umpire between 1977 and 1988, said some coaches would make a point of dropping by to seek clarification.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.