AFL Head umpires coach Hayden Kennedy believes that while there are some early teething troubles, the ruck nomination rule is going pretty well.
The new rule was introduced at the beginning of the year, with players now having to nominate at each stoppage which player will be contesting the ruck, to stop players from going ‘third man up’.
An incident right on three-quarter time of the Good Friday match between North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs headlined talk throughout the weekend, as Josh Dunkley was given a free-kick for being impeded as the nominated ruckman, despite Marcus Bontempelli clearly putting his hand up seconds before the infringement.
While Kennedy didn’t touch on that decision directly, he did state the overall rule was going well.
“We’re working really hard at getting it as best as what we possibly can, and I think we’re going pretty well at the moment,” Kennedy told AFL.com.au’s Whistleblowers.
“If you look at the averages, (there’s) around about 60-65 stoppages (per game) in which ruckman nominate. So if you multiply that by nine games (each round there’s an estimated) 540, and (the confusion) is only happening on the few occasions we see.
“The thing for us is that – and we’ve stressed this through JLT (Community Series) until last week – we need to continue using the ruckman’s names.”
“We all need to let it take its time, (because) it’s an evolving thing and a new rule.”
Kennedy was then asked whether or not the umpiring department would want the rule to be adjusted, although his response was played with a straight bat.
“I keep on saying this, but we will do whatever the rules committee tells us to do,” Kennedy said.
“All those rules and regulations are made up by people in a much better position than I am.”
The umpires boss said the decision to penalise Kersten late in the Dockers’ win over Melbourne was the right call, although he suggested a throw-in would have been the best call following the Zaharakis kick.