Category Archives: umpires

Groundhog day at the AFL



It’s becoming boring.

Everytime there is a draw in the AFL, the reporters, press and talk back radio stations go beserk with the ‘Why do we have to have the draw’ syndrome.

As soon as the siren went in the Richmond v North drawn game, I knew we would be going into meltdown with the whinging and grissling of the AFL press who are desperate for a story…any story…

It’s the same each year for the ANZAC Day clash as well – GROUND HOG DAY. “Let’s have a phone in to see if your club deserves to host the ANZAC DAY clash” they cry.

Then they start on getting rid of the umpires bouncing the ball.

It’s boring and monotonous.

These are all fantastic parts of our unique game.

Let’s face it. I love the AFL draw. It’s tense and exciting in the last moments of the game. One team is the winner and one is the loser anyway because one of the teams has quite often blown the game (as in Richmond this year) and someone has saved their skin (North Melbourne this year).

The draw is a fantastic part of our game. I take you back to the first ANZAC DAY clash. Both sides, Essendon and Collingwood were fantastic that day. The result was a draw and we are all still talking about it.

How about my favorite. The “One more Kerna” day at the MCG where Carlton Bult, Steve Kernahan kicked for goal from Kernahan’s pocket after the siren when scores were level . He kicked out of bounds on the full! Carlton lost the draw that day, Essendon won the draw.

I’ve heard people say that it was terrible to see players so deflated after the Richmond/North game. They reckon Brent Harvey looked devastated and depressed…well stiff bikkies, I reckon. Scenes like these are part of our great game. They didn’t know whether to sing the song or not…get over it and sing the song next time you win. (In Richmond’s case, they’ve probably forgotten the words anyway).

How about caretaker Richmond Coach, Jade Rawlings  who says he would rather have lost than finished on a draw. What kind of a fool statement is that?

Receiving 2 match points for the draw has often put a new slant on the shaping of the final 8.

*I’ve heard arguments for extended time of 5 minutes for each team.

*I’ve heard of a goal kicking shootout (you might as well toss a coin or do the paper, scissors, rock thing)

*How about the bloke who suggested that the team who kicks the first goal of the match should be retrospectively awarded the win in a drawn game.

*Or the next goal wins if scores are level at siren time – I hope we’re kicking with the wind with that one…

*One idiot even phoned the radio station to suggest a replayed match after the Grand Final – the funds to go to charity…Well I’m sorry, but when I begin my AFL career, I will be on the end of season trip for that one…

Mike Sheahan’s article in Tuesday 21 July Herald Sun just about made me sick. Sheahan always goes against the grain of our game as he is just another reporter desperate to fill his press column with a controversial headline.

That idiot Craig Hutchison was at it again on Talking Footy, Monday night. “Why is ours the only sport who doesn’t deal with a drawn contest?” he bleated. Well I’ve just got one word to say to Hutchy “Soccer”. Does this bloke forget that soccer deals up a draw in most of its encounters. Soccer World Cup has a penalty shootout which rewards the team with the best full forward.

How about cricket? You can play 5 days for a draw and I’ve seen some fantastic, tense and exciting drawn contests which go down to the last ball of the 5th day.

Our game goes for about 100 minutes, if you can’t separate the combatants in that time, well so be it. Enjoy the novelty of the draw. Some of the best games in history have been draws and these are games we are still often talking about.

Fair dinkum, I’m on my soap box about this one but I’m sick of people always trying to change what is perfect.

I’ve had enough – LEAVE OUR GAME ALONE.



Filed under AFL, ANZAC DAY, carlton, Collingwood, editorials, Essendon, HUTCHY, kangaroos, Rants, Richmond, umpires



I’d like to share a story with you about two of my uncles, Len and Jack Gray.

In their day, both Len and Jack were VFL umpires.

After returning from World War 2, Uncle Len became a VFL umpire along with his younger brother, my Uncle Jack. Both men umpired with distinction for many years. Len later became a goal umpire when he felt he had become too old to run the field all match, while Uncle Jack continued field umpiring and later became an umpire’s adviser.

After his umpiring retirement, Jack’s job was to go to VFL games to watch and report on the match performances of the VFL umpires. Many times I remember my dad saying that Jack saw to it that a certain umpire would be umpiring in the country this weekend, thanks to Uncle Jack’s umpire’s report. Family legend has it that Jack was responsible for sending umpire Harvey Lyons to the country after Lyons’ several ordinary performances in the late 1970’s. I vividly remember developing a passionate dislike for Umpire Harvey Lyons because of what I saw as his obvious bias against my beloved Bombers.

Sadly, Uncle Len passed away last week at the grand old age of 87. Jack told a few funny stories at Len’s funeral about their umpiring days. One in particular made everyone laugh.

In the old days, the goal umpire would always leave his position in the goal square to run down the field and break up fights on the football ground. This particular day was semi final day at the MCG in the 1950’s. Len was goal umpiring this day, while Jack was watching from the grandstand. A brawl broke out amongst the players in the centre of the ground so Len left the goal square at the city end of the ground to run all the way to the centre of the MCG to help break up a fracas.

The field umpire in his wisdom decided that the best way to stop the fight was to bounce the ball and get the game under way again.

Of course, the ruckman for the team kicking towards the city end goal got the tap out to the rover who booted the ball towards the goal with the missing goal umpire.

Goal umpire Len panicking that he would miss the moment, sprinted back down the ground towards the goals as fast as he could. His long white coat almost tripping him up on a couple of occasions, holding onto his hat on his head the whole way, while the footy was being booted closer to the goal. Racing against the speed of play, Len made it back to his position at the goals just in time to see the ball sail over his head between the big sticks. Doubled over and well and truly out of breath, Len gallantly signalled the two fingers to indicate the goal.

If you have any great footy stories why not share them with us via DGES Footytalk.


Filed under umpires