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Kennedy takes on role as umpires coach

AFL Umpire Hayden Kennedy addresses the media prior to his milestone of umpiring 400 AFL games during a press conference at the Telstra Dome.
Hayden Kennedy has been named
FORMER umpire Hayden Kennedy has been appointed the new senior coach of AFL umpires.
 
He has taken over the position previously held by Rowan Sawers, who departed the AFL in November ending a career in AFL umpiring that began in 1977.
 
Kennedy has been working at the AFL since 2012 as the AFL umpires' assistant coach.
 
He holds the AFL record for games umpired having officiated in 495 games between 1988 and 2011.
 
Hamstring injuries forced him to put away the whistle just five games short of the 500 mark.
 
The 1997 All Australian umpire also officiated in five Grand Finals and was made an AFL life member in 2003.
 
AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said Kennedy would build on the platform established for developing the senior umpiring list.
 
"Hayden was an outstanding umpire who had the confidence and trust of players and clubs with his decision-making ability and his skills to communicate and keep control of difficult situations," Evans said. 
 
"His background in teaching, and his ability to build relationships with people, made him the outstanding candidate to further develop AFL umpires to serve the national competition."
 
Kennedy said his intent was simple: to produce the best umpires. However he also indicated that he would work closely with clubs so they were aware of what approach umpires were taking into games.
 
The AFL has also interviewed candidates in recent weeks for the AFL director of umpiring position made vacant when Jeff Gieschen left the post after 14 seasons in the top job.
 
That job is likely to be filled by the end of the year, with the appointee likely to have greater say in the laws of the game and the capacity to attend all Match Review Panel meetings. 

The AFL will also appoint two assistant umpires coaches, with one replacing Kennedy and one an addition to the structure.
 
Evans is continuing to liaise with the AFL Umpires' Association as part of the revamp, developing ways to improve umpiring preparation and performance.
 
The idea of appointing full-time umpires has been ruled out.