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Score review 'bunker' could be ready for finals: Hocking

Steve Hocking says a centralised review 'bunker' could come into effect as early as this year's finals - AFL,Umpires,Steve Hocking
Steve Hocking says a centralised review 'bunker' could come into effect as early as this year's finals

A SCORE review centralised "bunker" could come into effect as early as this year's finals series.

Currently, all score review decisions are made at the grounds themselves, but after a series of errors there has been a push to centralise the decision making, allowing more experienced officials to take the reins.

AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking, speaking on SEN on Saturday, confirmed the bunker may be in operation in as little as two months' time.

He said he been observing how the NRL and the A-League operate their own centralised video review systems.

"I think what I can say is to the fans is the edge technology, we ghosted that in last finals series, and it's worked successfully, and it's found its way into the broadcast now," Hocking said.

"We will certainly look – if we can set it up and get the right model, we've got people coming from all areas. The upside of all of this is we get more of the percentage right as far as the score review.

"I absolutely accept we don't get some of it right, and most of that has been human error. It actually hasn't been system, it's actually been human error.

"What we'll do is if we make sure we get that right for the finals, we'll ghost that in over finals, but that's eight or nine or 10 weeks to try and work with that. We've got a lot of partnerships being offered up off the back of the advertising that's going on around it."

Speaking later on 3AW radio, Hocking suggested virtual reality could be the future of umpire training.

It sounds like something out of a futuristic movie, but the AFL is compiling a vision library to assist umpires.

 

"The big challenge in officiating is you can't duplicate what comes on the weekend (in training), you can't duplicate the scrutiny. Off the back of that, we're doing a whole host of things around the on-field umpiring, we've got VR (virtual reality) technology," Hocking said.

"You've probably seen the go-pros worn (by umpires, strapped to their chests) at games throughout the bye rounds. The reasons for that is we've got a fellow by the name of Damian Farrow coming from Victoria Uni and the AIS who's a skill [acquisition] guy. He's been in the role for four months.

"He's working to build a library of decision making that can be put into VR. They can then be wearing that during the week and actually rehearsing and practicing, because they can't [currently] do that.

"You then take that to goal umpires, you take that to boundary umpires and then score review officers. It's actually really difficult to replicate all of those challenges."