Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

Umpire injuries could lead to AFL’s signature bounce being thrown out

Jon Ralph, August 24, 2017 6:45PM Herald Sun

Print Article

Ellen Glouftsis takes her first bounce. Picture: Michael Dodge media_cameraEllen Glouftsis takes her first bounce. Picture: Michael Dodge


Reading level: orange

THREE quarters of the AFL’s senior umpires have had a recent bounce-related injury and now the unique tradition is at risk of being thrown out entirely.

The AFL Commission will make a decision in coming months on its future, with strong opinion from the AFL’s umpires that the bounce be abolished* for safety reasons.

AFL umpires bounce the ball in the centre square to start the game, after a goal is kicked and at the start of each quarter. It is not performed by umpires in junior leagues.

AFL Umpires Association boss Peter Howe recently presented to the Laws of the Game committee on the pros and cons of bouncing.

Howe said 25 of the 33 senior umpires had suffered a back, shoulder or stress-related injury through bouncing in recent seasons.

Eleni Glouftsis takes an opening bounce. Picture: Michael Klein media_cameraEleni Glouftsis takes an opening bounce. Picture: Michael Klein

The AFL’s umpires believe the league will inevitably* abandon the bounce given the injuries and its impact on umpire recruitment and retention*.

He said if the AFL Commission approved the bounce again for next year the umpires would have to consider their position.

Top AFL umpire Brett Rosebury returned from a broken hand recently and threw the ball up in the centre square.

It is understood another umpire has also thrown the ball up in the centre square for much of this season — and no one has taken any notice.

Former umpire Derek Humphrey-Smith said the league should have an elite group of bouncers, and umpires who didn’t go into the centre square

But Howe said that solution was unworkable because umpires needed to rotate through all three umpiring positions to share the physical load each game.

One solution for 2018 might be to allow umpires who are injured from bouncing or have issues with it to throw the ball up after goals while others continue bouncing.

Howe said a recent Occupational Health and Safety* report into the medical ramifications* of the bounce would be passed to the AFL Commission as part of the AFL submission.

Brett Rosebury. Picture: News Limited media_cameraBrett Rosebury. Picture: News Limited

“In terms of whether we would accept the Commission’s decision (if the bounce continued), I would have to put that to the members,” Howe said.

“We have agreed we would bounce this year with the view to reviewing the whole process for next year.”

Humphrey-Smith retired after he developed the yips, a loss of fine motor skills, but said the bounce was a unique skill that the AFL should never scrap.

“There are always ways around (OH&S) issues if you want to find a way,” he said.

“It is quintessentially Australian and makes us unique on the world stage with commencing proceedings with a unique skill. No other sport does that.”


abolished: gotten rid of

inevitably: eventually have to

retention: keeping people from one season to the next
Occupational Health and Safety: rules designed to keep people safe
ramifications: results



Activity 1. Should we keep the bounce?

What is the issue presented in this article?

There are two sides to this issue.
List the for and against arguments for the AFL stopping the bounce in games.
Some arguments are presented in the article and you can think up others.

Extension: Other rule changes

The AFL has made a number of rule changes in the last few years to protect players from injury. Research some of these changes and how they protect players. Have these changes had a major impact on the uniqueness of the game?

Time: allow about 40 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education, Ethical Capability

Activity 2: Safety is everyone’s responsibility

Employers have a responsibility to their workers to keep them safe while they are at work, just like principals and teachers have a responsibility to keep you safe while you are at school.

Some things are banned to protect you and some rules are enforced to keep you safe.
Think about your school situation.
What things are banned and what things are enforced?

List the banned and enforced rules at your school under headings with a short description of why you think your school has those rules.

For example:

Enforced — wearing a sun-smart hat when outside to protect from sunburn

Banned — tackling in football games to prevent serious injuries

Extension: OH&S

Choose four different occupations that interest you.
Think of some specific rules and requirements for each one that are there to keep them safe while at work.

For example:
Nurse or doctor
• Wear gloves when cleaning wounds to protect from germs
Roadside construction worker
• Wear bright safety vests for better visibility

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education, Ethical Capability


(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Highlight the punctuation in the article and then list the punctuation that was not included.

Then write some sentences about the article that use the missing punctuation.

Write a paragraph that uses every piece of punctuation in to the article.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP







Extra Reading in sport