AS frustrating as it might be at times for the committed supporter, the grey areas in the rules are some of the things we love to hate most about our national game.
But fans need to spare a thought for the umpire in these instances because, at times, they are being asked to make split-second calls that even repeated video reviews can’t unravel.
That’s the challenge but it’s also a barrier to getting young people and ex-footballers in particular to take on the role of umpiring.
However, the umpires are one of the most important aspects of our game and the South Gippsland Umpires Association is doing all they can to keep the numbers of new umpires coming.
Last Saturday, former boundary umpire Joel Findlay made his debut as a field umpire at a Saturday level when he took control of the thirds match between Stony Creek and Toora.
And he had the most experienced man in the field locally, Paul Carter, there to run with him.
Paul gradually handed over more responsibility for the match as the game went further to the point where Joel was taking his share of the centre ball-ups and doing most of the running and decision-making around the ground in a fine debut.
And he came off smiling in the end, having enjoyed the experience.
“We’ve got three or four young field umpires trialling in the Southern Gippsland Juniors matches on a Sunday, including Alison Mancarella doing a good job, and we put Joel in for his first game on Saturday and by all accounts, did well,” said SG Umpires Director Gary Scholz.
“It’s important that the clubs and supporters support the kids at this level and from our point of view, we’ve got not tolerance adverse criticism.
“If we want these kids to continue on with their umpiring, because the reality is we need them, they’ve got to be able to enjoy their sport as well.
“We’ve got good numbers of boundaries but we could do with more goal umpires and field umpires,” he said.
Those interested can call Gary Scholz on email southgippslandumpires@gmail.com