MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 06: The umpires walk off at half time during the round three AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the West Coast Eagles at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The AFL is set to trial a new-look umpiring rotation system with four field umpires to take to the field across the bye-round period, as reported by 

The decision is a change from previous seasons (where four field umpires were used in games during the bye rounds), with this season’s layout set to have four umpires rotating through the three on-field positions and one official on the bench.

The new-look system was trialed during the JLT Community Series in recent years and during VFL matches.

The rotation system will allow some field umpires to officiate multiple games each round across the bye-round period.

It is understood that the umpiring department, led by Grant Williams and Damian Farrow, are seeking to better their understanding on the advantages of flexibility within the four umpires system and their involvement within the match.

The new system has been implemented in hope the trial will:

– Enable the collection of data and observations to help determine if this on-field umpiring model should be one considered for the future.

– Develop insights as to whether such a four-umpire model will enhance the career longevity of umpires.

– Potentially allow the best decision-making umpires the opportunity to officiate in multiple games should the model reduce the physical demands on a umpire.