No news is good news; say those with the inclination to lean in the direction of negativity.
No rules changes for 2018 might therefore be good news to more than a few involved with the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition.
No mucking about with tweaks to the rules of the way those rules are interpreted is the modus operandi for 2018, following three years of tinkering with stricter umpiring dealing with deliberate rushed behinds and out of bounds.
“The beauty about this year is that there have been (no changes), which is great for the players and great for the umpires,” AFL umpires coach Hayden Kennedy said on Wednesday. “Last year we spent a hell of a lot of time in the pre-season coaching new rules and we haven’t done that this year, so we’ve been able to spend time on other things.”
As things now stand, however, should Kennedy not be subject to some sort of discipline for being quoted using the word “hell?”
Where is his sense of decorum?
Representatives of the umpires had been lobbying for the bounce to be dust binned last year, out of concern for umpires being injured when a misplayed bounce would recoil and strike them square in the kisser, or in the case of the male umpires, those few who are not eunuchs, in the sensitive nether regions.
There was also inclusion of the idea that bounces had the effect of slowing down play, perhaps just as a way for the umpires to avoid the appearance of being completely self-centred, but Steve Hocking decided to keep the bounce in its traditional form.
Hocking may simply have been trying to avoid any further memo fiascos.
“It’s a skill that needs to stay in the game and we expect our umpires to be bouncing it at the level that is required in AFL football,” Kennedy said. “They actually bounce at around 96 per cent where the two ruckmen can get to the ball, which is a phenomenal effort when you think about it.”
Ah, but that remaining four percent? Four percent too many in the view of some who now speaker in a much higher tone of voice.