The act which is ‘ruining the game’ and making umpires ‘gun shy’
While the booing of Scott Pendlebury has dominated headlines in the aftermath of Collingwood’s narrow Anzac Day victory over the Bombers, it’s another contentious issue from the game which has Marko and The Ox riled up.
“Why don’t we talk about what is causing the booing,” Marko begins.
“It’s not the umpires, it’s this epidemic of players playing for free kicks – and it’s making the umpires job impossible,”
We know it when we see it, when a player turns in an Oscar worthy performance for the benefit of an umpire with a whistle on a hair trigger. The Anzac Day clashed served up a few examples worth highlighting.
“If I was an Essendon supporter and saw Scott Pendlebury lean into a tackle while picking up the ball and getting a free kick, I’d be disappointed – he played for a free kick and he got it,
“Again, if I was an Essendon supporter and I saw Callum Brown fall flat on his tummy and take out an Essendon player with him and getting a free kick, I’d be filthy!”
“It’s gone too far, and people have been calling this out for a long time, and that’s why people were booing yesterday because the umpires job is almost impossible, they’re gun shy,”
Melbourne Football Club legend David ‘Ox’ Schwarz believes the umpires are struggling to interpret the laws of the game because “there is no more black and white with the rules,”
“Up until the end of last year, if you touched a player in the back with your hands it was a free kick, now you can touch a player in the back but if you push or push too excessively it’s a free kick,” Ox explains.
“There is more onus on the umpires in making split decisions on areas which are really grey, it used to be black and white, but it’s no longer black and white.”
Every match features a handful of contentious umpiring decisions but Marko and Ox believe it’s time to turn the heat up on players who fuel the controversy by staging for free kicks.
“We need to come up with something that says ‘right, if you play for a free kick… there should be a free kick played against that player,” Ox said.
“There needs to be a signal given so that players realise you are ruining the game by trying to fake and stage for a free kick.”
Click PLAY to hear more from Marko and The Ox: