Umpiring Under Fire: AFL Legend's Scathing Critique of Preliminary Final Callssports,AFL,umpiring,critique,preliminaryfinal,controversy
Umpiring Under Fire: AFL Legend's Scathing Critique of Preliminary Final Calls

Umpiring Under Fire: AFL Legend’s Scathing Critique of Preliminary Final Calls

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Did not do a good job: Luke Hodge unloads on ‘pathetic’ prelim umpiring


Four-time premiership player Luke Hodge has expressed his disappointment with the umpiring during Friday night’s preliminary final between the Collingwood Magpies and the Greater Western Sydney Giants. In an interview with SEN’s Crunch Time, Hodge criticized the umpires’ decision-making and labeled their performance as “pathetic”. Hodge’s comments come after the Magpies secured a one-point victory, advancing them to the grand final.

The Introduction of a Fourth Field Umpire

This AFL season, a fourth field umpire was introduced in an effort to improve decision-making and deter undisciplined play. The addition of an extra umpire was meant to ensure that no calls were missed, especially in critical games like preliminary finals.

The Umpire’s Missed Calls

Hodge voiced his concerns about the missed calls during the match and questioned the performance of the umpires. He highlighted the gravity of the situation, emphasizing that in a preliminary final, every decision matters greatly. Hodge referred to instances where umpires overruled from a distance of 70 meters in previous games but failed to make crucial calls when it truly counted.

Hodge’s main criticism revolved around the fact that many free kicks were missed during the match, which he believes had a significant impact on the outcome. He expressed his disappointment in the umpires, calling their decisions “pathetic.”

Number of Free Kicks

During the first preliminary final, a total of 24 free kicks were awarded, with 12 going to each team. This figure was below the season average for both the Collingwood Magpies, who received an average of 18.2 free kicks per game, and the Greater Western Sydney Giants, who received an average of 15.5. This suggests that the umpires may have been more lenient in their decision-making during the match.

Hodge’s Final Thoughts

Hodge concluded his criticism by stating that the umpires did not do a good job on the night and let too many incidents go unpunished. He mentioned an incident involving GWS player Toby Greene, who appeared to have his head knocked off just before three-quarter time. Hodge’s frustration stems from the fact that the introduction of an extra umpire should have prevented incidents like this from occurring.

Editorial and Analysis

The controversy surrounding the umpiring in the preliminary final raises important questions about the role of umpires in the game of Australian Rules Football. Should the introduction of a fourth field umpire result in fewer missed calls, or does it simply add to the confusion and inconsistency? Should there be stricter regulations in place for umpires, particularly in high-stakes matches such as preliminary finals?

Some argue that the introduction of additional umpires is necessary to ensure that the correct decisions are made. With the speed and physicality of the game constantly increasing, it has become more challenging for the three traditional field umpires to cover the entire field and make accurate calls. The fourth umpire should theoretically help bridge this gap and reduce the number of missed incidents.

However, others argue that the introduction of a fourth field umpire may lead to more inconsistencies and confusion. Additional umpires could potentially contradict each other’s decisions, leading to disputes between players, coaches, and fans. It is essential to strike a balance between having enough umpires to cover the game effectively and maintaining consistency in decision-making.

Advice for the AFL

The AFL should carefully evaluate the effectiveness of the fourth field umpire system in light of the criticisms raised by Luke Hodge. They should assess whether the presence of an extra umpire is truly improving decision-making or if it is creating more confusion and inconsistency.

It may also be beneficial for the AFL to consider implementing stricter regulations for umpires during critical matches, such as preliminary and grand finals. These games often have higher stakes, and the outcome can significantly impact a team’s season. Therefore, it is crucial that the umpires make accurate and consistent calls to ensure a fair contest.

Furthermore, the AFL should take player and fan feedback into account when evaluating umpiring performance. Open dialogue and constructive feedback from those directly involved in the game can help identify areas for improvement and maintain trust in the umpiring system.


The controversy surrounding the umpiring during the preliminary final between the Collingwood Magpies and the GWS Giants highlights the need for continued evaluation and improvement of the umpiring system in the AFL. Luke Hodge’s strong criticism underscores the importance of accurate decision-making, particularly in high-stakes matches. The AFL should use this opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of the fourth field umpire and consider ways to enhance the consistency and fairness of the game.


Umpiring Under Fire: AFL Legend
<< photo by Sandro Schuh >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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Edwards Jake

G'day, I'm Jake Edwards, the man on the street. I've been crisscrossing this great country, bringing you the human stories that make Australia what it is. From interviews with local legends to the everyday Aussie battlers, I'm here to tell your stories. So let's yarn, Australia

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