The AFL Umpires’ Association is reportedly pressuring the AFL Commission to scrap the centre bounce.
Fairfax reports that the umpires, currently in the middle of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with the league, have proposed the idea to the AFL, with the push gaining momentum.
While bounces around the ground were abolished in 2013, many senior umpires are still said to be concerned about back and shoulder issues as a result of bouncing the ball.
Two umpires, Andrew Mitchell and Ben Ryan, both underwent shoulder reconstructions during the off-season.
The AFL Laws of the Game Committee are also reportedly open to dispensing with the bounce.
There are three main reasons the AFL Umpires’ Association argue the bounce should be scrapped:
- the issue of fairness to competing ruckmen
- the continuing difficulty of finding enough umpires to officiate at the elite level
A major hurdle for umpires reaching the elite level is being able to consistently bounce the ball well.
However, as the video technology improves, the scrutiny on umpires and split second decisions will only increase. Therefore, perhaps it is time even more importance should be placed on a person’s ability to make a good decision under pressure, rather than the ability to bounce the ball in the centre of the ground.