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AFL to trial alternate field umpire system across bye rounds

THE AFL Umpiring Department will conduct a trial with the use of four field umpires rotating in and out of the three on-field umpiring positions in each of the 18 matches to be played across rounds 12 – 14 of the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

AFL General Manager Football Operations Steve Hocking said the Umpiring Department, headed by Grant Williams and Damian Farrow, wished to use these bye-period rounds to better understand the physical and cognitive benefits of being able to flexibly manage the four umpires’ game involvement, following several trials in JLT Community Series matches over recent years and a VFL match.

During these trials, the Umpiring Department will look to have some of the field umpires officiate in two games across the one weekend.

In the note sent to clubs, the Umpiring Department said it was hoped the trial will:

- Enable the collection of data and observations to help determine if this on-field umpiring model should be one considered for the future.

- Develop insights as to whether such a four-umpire model will enhance the career longevity of umpires.

- Potentially allow the best decision-making umpires the opportunity to officiate in multiple games should the model reduce the physical demands on a umpire.