Andrew Gaze slams Rioli fine, supports ‘healthy’ relationship with umpires


Andrew Gaze has slammed the AFL’s decision to fine Willie Rioli.

The Eagle forward was hit with a $1000 fine for giving umpire Ray Chamberlain a friendly pat on the bum during his side’s win over Hawthorn on Sunday.

The fine comes after two players – Geelong’s Tom Hawkins and Carlton’s Ed Curnow – were suspended for less friendly umpire contact in recent weeks.

Gaze told Macquarie Sports Radio there needs to be a distinction between contact that is acceptable and that which should be stamped out.

“You’ve got to be able to make a judgment on the spirit of the game,” Gaze said.

“To me, (Rioli’s tap) was in the spirit of the game, and the way in which you should interact with an umpire.

“You should be able to have some sort of relationship with them, that they’re part of the game.

“It’s healthy to have that relationship with the umpires.

“If we are at a stage where we can’t tell the difference between a casual supportive tap on the bum, as opposed to what we saw previously, pushing an umpire away, then I think we’ve got bigger problems we need to solve.”

Gaze said fining Rioli for the incident sent a message that there is no “common sense” in relation to umpire contact.

“To me, the game is worse off for it.”

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Photo: Julian Smith / AAP