AFL Commission votes to retain the bounce

The AFL Commission has voted to retain the traditional centre bounce despite umpires wanting it to be scrapped.

There had been significant doubt about the future of the bounce after officials warned it was causing them unnecessary anxiety and increasing their risk of injuries.

But newly minted football operations manager Steve Hocking threw his support behind keeping the bounce and his recommendation was endorsed by the AFL Commission.

Umpires will also continue to recall unsatisfactory bounces.

Hocking says the “long-term decision” ensures the league will hold onto what he described as an important spectacle of the game.

“We want to create a spectacular game and we feel that this is a large part of that,” Hocking told reporters on Tuesday.

“It is a tradition of the game and we’re going to make sure that it is retained within the current game we all so dearly love and enjoy.”

An AFL website survey this year found 15 of 18 coaches favoured scrapping the bounce.

Prominent umpire Ray Chamberlain last week said the practice was affecting officials’ mental health.

“I know it causes guys, not just myself, extraordinary levels of anxiety when, really, they should be focusing on their job at hand,” he told 3AW.

“Where it causes the most grief is in your preparation before a game. You should be focusing on the things that matter.

“But I’ve known of guys taking medication to help with their anxiety in relation to it … that’s really unhealthy.”

The TAC Cup, Victoria’s elite under-18 competition, removed the bounce this year. And, it is sparsely used at grassroots levels.

But Hocking said the practice still had a place at the elite level.

He said the league would work closely with officials to ensure they were provided with additional skills training and support.

“From our point of view, if you want to be an AFL umpire, this is part of being an AFL umpire,” he said.

“This is the elite; this is the best competition going around. If you’re going to find your way through, you need to practise that.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!