Frustrated North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says it’s ridiculous to suggest different AFL rules aren’t put under the spotlight each week by umpires.
Two contentious deliberate rushed behind free kicks paid in round nine made the so-called ‘rule of the week’ a big talking point.
Umpires’ head coach Hayden Kennedy, however, denies there are crackdowns on particular rules as the season progresses.
He argued a memo, sent to all clubs last week, highlighted previous mistakes made in applying the deliberate rushed behind rule rather than a shift in interpretation.
“I think it’s ridiculous to suggest there isn’t (a rule of the week),” Scott said.
“There’s a memo that goes out that says, ‘This is what we’re focusing on’ so, if you don’t want to call it ‘rule of the week’, what would you call it?
“(The players) are usually pretty adaptable to rule changes, certainly at the end of the season, but to suggest there wasn’t a crackdown on deliberate rushed behinds is ludicrous.”
Scott said it was obvious that when such memos were circulated by the umpiring department, a spike in free kicks paid for the rule in question was coming.
“At least when you do get a memo, you can put your life on it that they’re going to pay one … we just had to make sure that it wasn’t paid against us,” he said.
Scott said it was only natural that umpires would look to pay more free kicks in certain aspects of the game if specifically coached up on particular rules.
“I would just prefer the umpires’ coaches said, ‘You know what we’re going to focus on this week? – just the rules’,” he said.
“We’re going to judge every contest in isolation and, if we see a free kick that’s there, we’re going to pay it – we’re not going to be looking for something specifically’.”