Twenty five weeks into a tough season that will go to the wire for teams fighting for a top 8 finish and our field umpires are dropping like flies. Heath Ryan has finally succumbed to a season ending Achilles injury following his first game back in round 18 for 8 weeks. The idea was to rest, recover and go again but the season was simply too long.
Scott Jeffery broke down in the last quarter of the Collingwood v Port Adelaide game and was forced off with 10 minutes remaining. South Australian rookie, Leigh Haussen who was sitting on the bench got onto the ground for his first AFL game. He is the 8th replacement this year, an all time high. Andrew Stephens was back in this round following his recovery from a calf strain and Chris Kamolins hopes to be in the VFL this week after recovering from a calf injury. Boundary umpire, Michael Saunders withdrew from Friday nights match, Sydney v Essendon with a quad injury suffered at training.
Tongue in cheek, it was good to see Troy Pannell get through his first Sydney v Essendon match without getting hit and suffering a concussion. He did not get through his last two encounters between these teams.
We all know how cold it is sitting on any AFL bench in winter. Is it true that the interchange stewards in Launceston on Sunday had heaters going on the interchange bench?
Goal umpire Courtney Lai was back sitting a bench to familiarise himself with all the new procedures and the AFL game day environment for the first time since round 2 2013 when he was seriously injured. He is now counting the hours before his first AFL game in over 18 months.
Post cam and hat cam for goal umpires have long been considered a hindrance in the flow of the game, “not another score review.” Not in back to back scoring attempts in the Collingwood v Pt Adelaide match. Travis Cloke was annoyed and the commentators bemused that Jason Venkataya came up with a behind when they all clearly thought it was a goal. The commentators immediately went back to scores in finals and grand finals that umpires had got wrong. That was until “hat cam” clearly showed the ball going over the top of the post for a behind. Post cam and hat cam then clearly showed two shots at goal being intercepted on the goal line when Jay Schultz couldn’t kick the distance from 50 metres. Chelsea Roffey was in perfect position both times.
Our deepest condolences go to Mark Canning and his family on the death of Mark’s father, John last week. Mark chose to fulfil his umpiring commitments in Saturday nights fixture between North Melbourne and Geelong.