Umpires say the bounce is history
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.”