Ruck frees need clarification: Beveridge

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge expressed his frustration after the spike in ruck infringement free kicks continued during his side’s AFL win over Collingwood.

A stricter interpretation of the rules around ruck contests yielded a sharp increase in free kicks paid at stoppages throughout round 17.

Beveridge was pleased with how lead ruckman Tom Campbell acquitted himself against Magpies’ duo Brodie Grundy and Jarrod Witts but was dismayed at the number of ruck infringements whistled by the umpires.

“I think the whole competition will need to talk about the ruck situation and free kicks because I’m just not sure about it at the moment,” Beveridge said.

“Tommy got too many against him, so you change your message to your ruckmen. They were probably there but I think we need to work out what it is because a lot more have been paid this weekend and I didn’t see it coming.

“If the stricter interpretation is really being enforced then we just need to make sure that we adjust as coaches and as players.”

Beveridge felt the Bulldogs’ 18-point win was umpired well otherwise, but he had an ally in Nathan Buckley when it came to ruck contest interpretations.

The `Pies coach is keen to simplify stoppages he feels are complicated by confusion over which player is actually contesting to win the hitout.

“Take the third man away … let the ruckmen ruck,” Buckley said.

“I think we need to make it easier for the umpires to adjudicate the game, not harder.

“So if there’s ruckmen there, let them ruck. If one of the ruckmen can’t get there, well, then that’s his problem … just simplify it.”

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