The AFL is facing renewed pressure to get rid of the traditional centre bounce, with rival coaches Chris Scott and Ross Lyon declaring it an unnecessary burden for umpires.
Whistleblowers have been vocal in recent seasons about wanting the bounce to be scrapped, warning it has caused them anxiety and increased their risk of injuries.
Scott and Lyon told Fox Footy they would be in favour of umpires throwing the ball up all the time.
“My issue is it costs you some good umpires,” St Kilda coach Lyon said.
“When you talk to the umpires, (they say) there’s good umpires that don’t get in because they can’t bounce.
“It’s hard enough to get umpires as it is.”
Geelong premiership coach Scott backed Lyon’s stance, saying the aim should be to make umpires’ jobs easier.
“I can’t come up with a sport where it’s harder to umpire or referee than our game,” Scott said.
“A pretty good guiding principle is, ‘let’s make it as easy for them as possible’.”
The discussion around the bounce stemmed from Scott’s reaction to a ruck contest between the Cats’ Rhys Stanley and Carlton opponent Tom De Koning.
De Koning raised his knee into Stanley’s ribs at a centre bounce but was not penalised with a free kick against him.
He was later fined $2000 for ‘kneeing’ in an act that was considered careless conduct, medium impact and body contact.
Stanley, who was substituted out of last Thursday night’s match after the incident, is in doubt for Geelong’s clash with Gold Coast on Sunday.
Scott said the Cats have since received clarification from the AFL around kneeing rules and had no issue with De Koning’s penalty.
“I don’t want to see De Koning get suspended or even fined. All you want to see is behaviour change,” Scott said.
“The AFL saying you cannot do that is much better than suspending players, in my opinion.”
(Australian Associated Press)