THE AFL is backing all six 50m penalties given for dissent over the weekend, but has admitted consistency is an issue, with another six non-decisions identified.
There has been consternation from the wider football public following a contentious decision in Hawthorn's win over Geelong on Easter Monday. Tom Mitchell and Jack Gunston were penalised while reacting in the middle of the ground to a dubious free kick paid inside 50.
But AFL general manager of football Brad Scott gave the decision the tick of approval.
"I want to commend the players overall for the shift in behaviour, I think it's been noticeable," Scott said.
"But we did have some inconsistency on the weekend. We got some wrong, and we got some right. There was a total of 369 free kicks paid over last weekend, and six were paid for dissent, and six that were clearly missed."
After there was a clear focus on umpire dissent during pre-season matches, Scott acknowledged there had been an easing in that regard from umpires.
"We definitely dropped off after round three. As a response to that, we sent five very clear examples to clubs of decisions we missed," Scott said.
"We showed those five really clear examples to say they would be paid (in the future), and had a really good response from clubs. They were appreciative of the heads up, so clubs are crystal clear.
"There's no acceptable level of dissent towards umpires. If players show demonstrable dissent, then they're risking a free kick or 50m penalty.
"As to what that level looks like, that's up to the umpire to decide, but we've been really clear on this. We have unanimous support from all the clubs, all the leaders of clubs, and in fact, they want us to pay these free kicks.
"With the inconsistency on the weekend where we paid some but not others, I get that players may think what's the level of dissent we're able to produce? And the answer to that is none."
Dissent can be subjective, but Scott said it had been reiterated to umpires to not let things slide as they had in the past.
"There may be umpires who have a thicker skin than others and think they're OK with it, but it's not up to the umpires to make the rules, it's up to the umpires to adjudicate the rules," he said.
"We have a massive responsibility to football at all levels, we have almost a million participants nationally, and umpiring just can't keep up with that.
"You can be surprised at a decision, but you can't show dissent. It's been accepted in the game for far too long. Ultimately, we've let this go over a period of time, and we just have to get onto it."