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Stop tinkering: Judd

Carlton footballer Chris Judd.

Carlton footballer Chris Judd. Photo: Angela Wylie

Dual Brownlow medallist Chris Judd says the AFL's new rule interpretations have made it far harder for players to play ''instinctive'' footy, adding there is excessive tinkering with the rules.

Judd, who plays his 250th game on Friday night, said players had to adjust their approach in the course of a round, or within the first 10 minutes of a game, when they realised the umpires were ''hot'' on a particular theme.

Judd said the rules changes or interpretations had meant a less instinctive game, with players having to think carefully as they approached the ball, to avoid free kicks or reports. He said the attempt to make umpiring less subjective had ''created more headaches'' than it had solved because some rules had simply required subjective judgments.

''It's certainly much harder to be instinctive on the field with the rule changes,'' the six-time All-Australian told Fairfax Media. ''I don't really understand that head-first sliding rule, when it gets paid and when it doesn't get paid. I thought it was going to be a really hard one to introduce in the first place.''

Judd said players had to think far more than before when approaching a contest. ''Whereas years gone by, you'd just see the ball and you'd think 'I've just got to get there as quickly as possible, be the first one to get there and no matter what, I'm OK'. So it was much more instinctual.

''Now you have to sort of weigh up, 'Oh, I might be there first, but if I lose my footing and I clip him with my head, that's a free kick or a report against me'. If he gets there just before me and keeps his feet and I get him high, that could be a report against me.''

While Judd said he would prefer the game to be more instinctive, he had no answer in terms of how to make this happen. ''I don't have a solution for what can be done for it.

''I think we tinker with the rules too much. The rules themselves don't seem to change much. It's just the interpretations of them do. There seems to be some weeks where an interpretation's running hot. It looked last week [that] the direction was to put away the whistle, in the games I watched and played in. Great, no problem. But in three weeks' time that will run its course and they'll go, 'Blokes are

pushing in too far, now we've got to change it back. Now we need a strong week on the whistle'.

''You sort of get a feel from Friday night - if you watch Friday night footy or if you're involved in it. After the first quarter, you go, 'They're on to this tonight', but it seems to ebb and flow.''

Asked if players responded to these different emphases in the course of a game, Judd said: ''Well you need to .. . I think you can almost pick in the course of a round, but if you don't watch a lot of football before you, play you're relying on the first 10 minutes.

''But I certainly think the aim of the rules committee has been to lose subjectivity with the umpires. But it's created more headaches than it's solved, in my opinion.''

Judd said the marking contests today were probably the hardest rules to umpire. ''Which doesn't affect me very much. But you know when there's excessive force side-on, that's a free kick. Or when it's - what was the explanation? - when it's an 80 per cent push that was banned, but a 50 … that was hard to even explain, let alone officiate, when that tried to get it explained.

''No doubt the game's harder now, that's the high-intensity running, though, that's gone through the roof. Because interchanges went up, the level of high-intensity running went up. I'd say that's been the biggest change in the game.''

52 comments

  • I don't usually have much of an opinion on Judd, but in this ionstance he is dead right. Leave the rules alone before it turns into netball!!

    Commenter
    John
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    June 12, 2013, 8:32PM
    • Judd is no statesman, but he's pretty straightforward and has got it right again

      Commenter
      Jim Bookie
      Date and time
      June 13, 2013, 12:31AM
      • C'mon Chris, if the rules committee don't do anything they'll be disbanded and become irrelevant - it's not going to happen.
        Like what do we have to do to get Andrew Demetriou out of our face - he'd suffer relevance deprivation like Kennett.

        Commenter
        Christopher
        Date and time
        June 13, 2013, 6:13AM
        • What are you thinking when you eye-gouge or push the pressure points of your opponent Judd?

          Commenter
          Eihcal
          Date and time
          June 13, 2013, 6:29AM
          • what has this got to do with anything? either stay on the course of the article or go away

            Commenter
            Betty
            Date and time
            June 13, 2013, 5:12PM
        • Chris Judd is absolutely right. The rules are the rules and the interpretation of those rules shouldn't change from week to week or from game to game.

          Commenter
          U No It Makes Cents
          Date and time
          June 13, 2013, 6:49AM
          • So you want robots to umpire the game?

            Commenter
            Charles
            Location
            Melbourne
            Date and time
            June 13, 2013, 10:38AM
          • Charles: now THAT'S an idea!

            Commenter
            Peter
            Location
            Melbawne
            Date and time
            June 13, 2013, 11:34AM
          • @ Charles.

            Wow that would be fantastic. But for some reason I notice a hint of sarcasm in your comment.

            Great thought tho....thumbs up.

            Commenter
            Slaugh
            Date and time
            June 13, 2013, 12:08PM
          • Its fine to tinker with interpretations, as thats what coaches do when they develop new tactics to exploit a strength or weakness in a team and the umpires should have some free reign to do the same. What they really need to do is get Gieschen and Demetriou to pull their heads in and let the umpires and their coaches decide how they are umpiring the game. What you will find is that the umpires will umpire within the Spirit of the Laws which is how the game should be played and how spectators want it to be umpired. From time to time there has been interpretation changes that are good for the game (such getting tougher on dragging the ball in on the ground in response to increased stoppages) but these should be minimal and clearly telegraphed. What we have today is interpretations are being tinkered with on a week in week out basis in response to HQ and the media and it is detrimental to the game. It seems though in the last few weeks they have started to drift back to common sense and there has been a corresponding drop in free kicks.

            Commenter
            Greg
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            June 13, 2013, 6:14PM

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