Bulldogs coach backs AFL umpires

Bulldogs coach backs AFL umpires

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has accused Adelaide of disrespecting his players and says any questioning of AFL umpiring integrity is disgusting.

Beveridge came out swinging on Tuesday in the wake of controversy surrounding the Bulldogs’ 15-point win over the Crows on Saturday night.

That match featured a lopsided 28-12 free kick count against the Crows and they have been in discussions with the league since about the issue.

The Bulldogs coach said the Crows’ public commentary had been disappointing.

“We train and play a certain way – it’s a little bit disrespectful to our players and how hard they go at the ball,” Beveridge said on Tuesday.

“You have young kids who, in their second year, are putting their head over the ball and attacking the game.

“If you deserve a free kick, you get one.”

Beveridge said he had no idea about the free kick disparity until after the match.

His defence of the umpires comes from his long apprenticeship coaching in local football before he worked at AFL level.

The three-time premiership coach at local amateur club St Bede’s-Mentone is strong on how criticism of AFL umpires could impact on lower levels.

“I’m always sensitive to the effect it has on community football,” he said.

“Any open message in the public domain and doubt around the integrity of an umpire’s performance for me is disgusting.

“As I said after the game, it’s swings and roundabouts.”

Umpire Troy Pannell’s personal free-kick count in the match was an astonishing 17-1.

Beveridge had sympathy for him, saying he thought he should have paid the Bulldogs a crucial free kick late in the match.

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