The AFL are set to clear up the ruling surrounding players making intentional contact with umpires after Tigers star Dustin Martin was let off with a fine despite making clear contact with an umpire on the weekend.
League officials will review the issue at the conclusion of the season and come up with a concrete ruling to avoid future confusion around the issue.
Earlier in the year, Cats spaerhead Tom Hawkins and Blues midfielder Ed Curnow both copped suspensions for making intentional contact with an umpire, but Martin who similarly made contact with Jacob Mollison was let off.
— AFL.com.au (@AFLcomau) June 18, 2018
Match review officer Michael Christian said umpire contact would only be graded as intentional if it was deemed to be aggressive, forceful, disrespectful or demonstrative.
As it stands, the AFL’s rules on making umpire contact are dubious but they will be reviewed and become more definite to avoid future confusion.
There was discussion of altering the rule during the year, but football operations boss Steve Hocking doesn’t want rules tinkered with mid-season and believes it will take an extended period of time to be approved by the AFL commission.
The AFL will also re-assess the rules around the bump.
Head knocks and concussion have been a massive topic of conversation in the AFL over the last few years with a number of players having their careers cut short due to ongoing concussion battles.
Strict rules were employed that banned players from bumping at all but they were loosened because players were being sanctioned when they had no option other than to bump their opponent.
The AFL are looking at implementing strict liability provisions where players will be automatically sanctioned if they elect to bump when the have the option to tackle.
As the rule stands now, it was used correctly in that instance, but the AFL want to stamp out head clashes and concussions from the game as much as they can.