5 Myths about Umpiring


Umpires don’t prepare for their game: FALSE

Riddell Umpires train each week, which includes running, skill work and coaching sessions. At these coaching sessions we look at different aspects of the game and address issues related to umpiring.   Umpires are appointed to games based on their skill level, just like teams are selected for Saturdays.

If you handball over your head, its automatically a throw: FALSE

This rule went out of the rulebook years ago. As long as it is a legal handball play on is the call. This is not the only rule that no longer exists. Others include:

-       Dropping the Ball

-       A trip by hand is a automatic report and 50m penalty 

-       An advantage call can be brought back if there is no advantage. 

The rulebook has changes every year. We recommend clubs keep up to date with changes. 

We are short of umpires: True

Although we generally have enough umpires in the RDFL, there is a general shortage across the country. The number of teams, particularly junior teams, is well outgrowing the number of new umpires. We can never have enough. More umpires will allow us to run more regular 3 umpire games in Senior Football, enforce training requirements more strictly and be able to deal with the drop off of junior umpires who leave the sport after a couple of years.  


The RDFL play by AFL rules: False

Yes we use the AFL rules to conduct games, however one of the opening statements in the rulebook is that the governing body can make changes as they see fit. The majority of the changes are administrative however some relate directly to on field decisions. Some of these include: 

-       Hands in the back. In the RDFL we have not implemented the AFL’s interpretation for this. A player cannot push or use two actions in a marking contest, however they can place their hands on the back of an opponent without penalty. 

-       Holding the Ball.  These are one of those rules where the interpretation changes based on skill level. So in under 10’s we hold off as long as possible before penalising a player however in seniors we are much quicker to make the call. Despite this we will never have the same interpretation as the AFL who are red hot. 

-       Deliberate out of bounds. Similar to above, skill level comes into play here. We will penalise a player who goes straight and direct for the line, however RDFL players sometimes miss kick and don’t have the same control as AFL players do so we are not as quick to ping them. 


Umpiring is FUN – True 

Umpiring is a great way to meet new friends, keep fit, earn money, build life skills like communication and working under pressure, not to mention having the best seat in the house to witness our great game. Just like football clubs we have social functions, meals each week at training, raffles and presentation night. 

For more information visit www.riddellumpires.com.au and see what you are missing out on.