Um­pires say the bounce is his­tory

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - JON RALPH

SOME of foot­ball’s best tap ruck­men fear the art of ruck­work is about to be killed off and re­placed with a bas­ket­ball tip-off.

The AFL has been warned that even if it re­tains the bounce at next week’s com­mis­sion meet­ing it will only be a stay of ex­e­cu­tion.

AFL um­pires as­so­ci­a­tion boss Peter Howe said the lack of ju­nior um­pires bounc­ing the ball meant the AFL would end the tra­di­tion within two years.

The AFL Com­mis­sion will next week con­sider the fu­ture of the bounce amid fierce op­po­si­tion to the prac­tice from AFL um­pires.

It will cap a tur­bu­lent pe­riod for the AFL’s of­fi­cials af­ter um­pires boss Peter Sch­wab was this week moved on by new foot­ball boss Steve Hock­ing. Sch­wab was hired by the AFL only last De­cem­ber af­ter it poached him from Bris­bane, where he was the list man­ager of the bat­tling club.

Hock­ing will take part in a re­view of um­pir­ing just as the um­pires and league draw close to a new in­dus­trial agree­ment that will in­volve bet­ter pay and con­di­tions.

Howe said yes­ter­day with com­pe­ti­tions like the TAC Cup no longer ask­ing um­pires to bounce the ball the writ­ing was on the wall for the bounce. “If they don’t make a de­ci­sion [to dump the bounce] we are only 12 or 24 months away from be­ing in a po­si­tion where we don’t have a choice,” he said.

For­mer ruck stars Corey McKer­nan and Jeff White, bril­liant ex­po­nents of the cen­tre square tap, said yes­ter­day a throw-up af­ter every goal and quar­ter-time break would be a huge step back­wards.

“Just leave it as it is. It’s part of the game,” said Kan­ga­roos pre­mier­ship star McKer­nan.

“You know when you are an um­pire bounc­ing is part of the game. It’s like say­ing you want to play footy but can’t kick.

“Imag­ine try­ing to com­bat Aaron Sandi­lands when he knows every sin­gle ball will be thrown up.

“For mine it’s a great part of the game.”

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