Port Adelaide great Warren Tredrea has questioned the AFL’s decision to not fine Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson for his criticism of the umpires last weekend.
Clarkson went at the officials following Hawthorn’s loss to Sydney, claiming that the disparity in the free kick count made it seem like the Swans had an extra player.
Despite the AFL’s rules stating that coaches are not allowed to comment on umpires, Clarkson avoided a fine, with the league simply issuing a memo regarding the rule.
According to Tredrea, in not fining Clarkson, the AFL missed an opportunity to set a standard and to show some leadership.
“I think Alastair Clarkson is out of line when you say they’ve got an extra man,” he told Wide World of Sports’ Talk of the Town.
“That’s just poor form and he should have been fined and the AFL should have been stronger on it, rather than sending out an email and reminding everyone of the rules.
“Come on. Let’s be serious. If you’re going to show some leadership, ping the biggest coach in the game, otherwise you’re wasting your time.”
Tredrea was backed up by AFL columnist Sam McClure, who said the non-fine to Clarkson was the latest example of the league “making things up on the run”.
“I don’t think what Clarko said was absolutely abhorrent, but there are clear rules, and that is you don’t talk about the umpires in a public forum,” he said.
“For the AFL to send out a memo reminding people of that is simply not strong enough. Alastair has got form with this sort of stuff.
“He was fined three years ago for saying, ‘I don’t talk about disgraceful umpiring’, and now he’s made a comment, albeit seemingly tongue-in-cheek, about there being an extra player on the ground for the opposition.
“I think the AFL had a really strong opportunity to send a message and they’ve decided to go against that.”
McClure added that Clarkson’s standing as the longest-tenured coach in the game played a part in the AFL failing to fine him, saying a less experienced coach, such as North Melbourne’s Rhyce Shaw, would have been fined “before the day was out”.
Clarkson was not the only coach to comment on the officiating last weekend, with Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley saying the AFL’s constant changing of interpretations had made umpires’ jobs harder.
“The challenge with the umpiring is that it should not change from week to week,” he said.
“That’s confusing for everyone, for the players, for the umpires. The game shouldn’t get adjusted from week to week. The rules are the rules, they don’t need to change, we just need to umpire them consistently.
“The umpires’ week-to-week focus shouldn’t change from Round 1 to Round whenever because their focus should be to umpire the rules as they’re written.”
Tredrea echoed the sentiment from Hinkley, offering sympathy to the under-fire umpiring fraternity.
“The reality is, why do we make it up on the run and change things on the run?” he said.
“Lets set the rules and lets set it for the year so it’s consistent and the umpires can actually get the best run at doing their job.
“Footballers don’t change their plans overnight. They plan them a week in advance to take on someone.
“The umpires don’t need to change the gameplan, they just need to implement the rules.”