The AFL has offered some clarity to fans and supporters on high tackles and how umpires will be educated to officiate, following multiple incidents involving Jack Ginnivan in the Collingwood win against Adelaide.
Ginnivan – who’s technique of drawing high contact free kicks has been publicised this year – was taken high on multiple occasions without being awarded a free.
The AFL came out on Tuesday revealing what stipulates a free-kick and what doesn’t, attempting to simmer down the talk surrounding the umpires’ failure to adjudicate Ginnivan correctly, despite media personality Kane Cornes offering his views on the matter.
AFL Head of Umpiring Dan Richardson has backed the umpires and their decision making, but admits players will not be rewarded if they are deemed to put themselves in vulnerable positions to win a free kick.
“First and foremost, players attempting to win the ball must be protected and the onus on duty of care is on the tackler. However, having won the ball, the ball carrier has a duty of care to not put themselves in a position for high contact.” Richardson said.
“Ultimately, the rules do not reward players for putting themselves in vulnerable positions to draw a free kick. This is something we prefer not to see in our game at any level.
“We want to be clear, if the umpire believes the ball carrier is responsible for the high contact, then they won’t be rewarded.”
|Front On||Head down over the ball trying to gain possession||Free kick for HT (as long as tackler on move)|
|Ducking||Elects to drop head from higher position||Must successfully dispose of ball otherwise HTB|
|Drive||Leads with head and moves into tackler who is stationary or near stationary||Must successfully dispose of ball otherwise HTB|
|Shrugs||Tackle around shoulder area and arm pushes tackle up||Play on.|
|Drop||At knees or body to gain head high tackle||Play on.|
Richardson believes there should be a greater understanding for some calls that may be missed by umpires, given the speed and pressure of the game, while maintaining the health and safety of all players.
“Our umpires strive to get every decision right, every single time, however there are instances where, just like players, decisions are made at full speed at ground level without the benefit of slow-motion replay.
“The health and safety of players is the primary concern of both the AFL and the clubs, and we will continue to work with clubs, their coaching panels, as well as players to ensure the safety of the game.”
Cornes believes the Magpie forward is judged unfairly for his ability to draw free kicks and umpires have missed them because of the player he is.
“How can you have a competition that pays this for two-thirds of the season and then all of a sudden decides that’s not a free kick anymore.”@kanecornes calls out the change in interpretation towards high tackles, particularly around Jack Ginnivan. #9AFLSFS | Channel 9 pic.twitter.com/NIvlrfcNhI
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) July 17, 2022
“I just find it really frustrating that as a league we change interpretations, don’t tell anyone and just because it’s in the news, he (Ginnivan) doesn’t get them (free kicks),” Cornes said on the Sunday Footy Show.
“Putting Jack Ginnivan on the map for the different interpretations of when he’s getting a free kick and when he’s not.
“We’re the only league in the world that changes (rule) interpretation midyear and doesn’t tell the fans.”
Leading AFL journalist Damien Barrett also shares a similar feeling to Cornes, saying on Triple M’s Rush Hour that Ginnivan is being treated differently.
“You don’t like to say this, but he’s being umpired differently to every other player, I feel,” Barrett said.
“He’s not getting the free kicks he should get…there’s clearly an awareness which is subconscious, I think, in the opponents (and) the way they tackle him, but also the umpires, they just see him there.”
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