AFL umpiring director Wayne Campbell says the low number of frees to Melbourne on Monday were not because of the men in white.
AFL umpiring director Wayne Campbell has fired back at Melbourne coach Paul Roos, strongly backing how the men in white handled Monday’s controversial match.
Roos has been one of the more vocal critics as umpiring has returned to the top of the game’s agenda.
While umpires, controversy and upset coaches are regular bedfellows, the issue usually flares and then settles in the opening few weeks of the season.
It is extremely rare for a debate about umpiring to be so spirited after round 12.
But Carlton coach Mick Malthouse was furious after a couple of glaring errors from the umpires meant his team was robbed in last Friday night’s five-point loss to Geelong.
Then only five free kicks were paid to Melbourne in the Queen’s Birthday loss to Collingwood.
The weekend before, Fremantle had received just four frees in their win over the Western Bulldogs.
Roos said it was illogical for Melbourne to receive so few frees.
But Campbell pointed to their game featuring well over 200 uncontested marks.
“The umpire coaches have reviewed the game and we think we missed five and two were unwarranted,” Campbell said.
“Given the game that was put in front of the umpires, we think they umpired it really well.
“Paul has been in constant dialogue with myself about the way he sees it being umpired.
“Hayden and the coaches are doing a terrific job in umpiring the game consistently.”
Campbell has also conceded disappointing mistakes were made in the Geelong-Carlton game.
Malthouse and his lieutenant Rob Wiley will meet with the umpiring department on Thursday to discuss issues stemming from Carlton’s narrow losses to Geelong and Brisbane in the last two weekends.
“It’s not a matter of whipping umpires – that is the last thing we intend to do,” Malthouse said.
“It’s the interpretation from week to week or from last year to this year.
“We know there’s a new broom that’s gone through.
“It would be fair to say we all praise the difference between tiggy-touchwood (and) letting the game go.
“But what we’re now increasingly frustrated with is the consistency on a week-to-week and umpire-to-umpire (basis) – interpretation.”
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley also said on Wednesday that it grated on him when umpires did not pay clear frees or waited too long to call for a ball up.
“It seems like we are wanting to reduce the stoppage numbers and let that sort of evolve,” Buckley said.
“When I’m watching that grates with me. If it’s locked in there just blow it.”
The umpiring department held a media briefing on Wednesday, where they reported less decisions, fewer ball ups and more boundary throw-ins compared to last season’s averages.