The WAFL have announced that the competition will be scrapping the centre bounce for the 2023 season, which is set to kick off on Friday, April 15.
The bounce was scrapped during pre-season matches, with the league officially deciding to remove it in the home and away season, leaving plenty of speculation over the bounce's place in the AFL.
Scott Baker, WAFC executive manager of football operations, confirmed the news, stating that removing the bounce will help retain quality umpires in the competition.
"The WAFC (WA Football Commission) is leading the way with this innovative move which will improve recruitment and retention of umpires," Baker said.
"Removing the bounce takes away an important barrier for quality umpires, particularly good decision makers, to be fast tracked through the umpiring talent pathway.
"We are very proud that the WAFL is seen as a leader in implementing changes like this to the game."
The decision comes amid debate that the bounce should be scrapped in the AFL, with St Kilda senior coach Ross Lyon stating that it should be removed while speaking on Fox Footy's AFL 360 program.
"My issue is it costs you some good umpires," Lyon said.
"When you talk to the umpires, (they say) there's good umpires that don't get in because they can't bounce.
"It's hard enough to get umpires as it is."
West Coast coach Adam Simpson also backed the scrapping, admitting that a ball up made it easier for players and umpires.
“It does make it easier for the players," Simpson said to media on Friday.
“It does make it easier for the players. And if we can make things more easy for the umpires, then I’m for it. There are some terrific umpires who can’t bounce and if we can get more from them, that’s a good thing.”
Simpson on WAFL abandoning the centre bounce for a ball up
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) March 31, 2023
"And if we can make things more easy for the umpires, then I'm for it.
"There are some terrific umpires who can't bounce and if we can get more from them, that's a good thing.”
Leagues around the country are facing issues when trying to recruit and retain umpires, with the WAFL now hoping the scrapped bounce will allow more officials to be recruited through the talent pathway.