THE CENTRE bounce has been removed from the TAC Cup this year, raising doubts about the ability of future umpires to execute the skill.
The decision to remove the bounce from Victoria's elite pathway league means developing umpires will no longer be practicing the skill in match settings.
While the AFL said the decision would have no impact on the League's 34 listed umpires, it acknowledged it could affect future whistleblowers that make it to the top level.
AFL Victoria head of umpiring Cameron Nash said the TAC Cup was officiated by field umpires from development squads and many were recruited each year from leagues that do not bounce.
"To expect the umpires to learn, practice and improve their bouncing in an elite competition is unreasonable, and we do not want to be in a position to not select talented young umpires for our program purely because they cannot bounce," Nash said.
"We want to encourage more young umpires from traditional and diverse backgrounds to pursue their umpiring and progress to higher levels without their ability to adequately bounce being a contributing factor."
Adelaide coach Don Pyke, who personally likes the bounce, on Thursday raised the idea of using professional centre bouncers in the AFL.
"Our game is unique in that it's probably the only game in the world whereby the umpires need a technical competence – whether it's a boundary throw-in or a bounce – to be able to officiate," Pyke said.
"I wonder whether we just get guys who actually do the bounce and the rest of them do the umpiring, and we end up with professional bouncers.
"Maybe that has got some interest for someone who can just come in and bounce the ball."
Removing the bounce from the AFL would be a Commission decision after the issue has been debated through the Laws of the Game Committee.
The AFL's new football operations manager Simon Lethlean said the bounce had been raised by umpires as an issue for developing whistleblowers.
He acknowledged the decision to remove the bounce from the TAC Cup would have future implications on AFL umpires if the bounce remained at the top level.
TAC Cup umpires will continue to practice the bounce at training, but will miss out on testing the skill under match-day pressure.
"It takes training to do it, so yeah, that’s a fair point," Lethlean told News Corp.
"One of the issues umpires have raised in junior and community football ... bouncing is not a skill necessarily being practised and taught."