Umpires in Saturday’s representative showdown at Robertson Oval will be wired up as part of a new, ongoing initiative to help improve the standard of officiating.
AFL Riverina has invested in the radio technology which allows the umpires to speak to each other during the game and receive feedback from a matchday coach.
The system was rolled out at the Farrer League fixture between CSU and Barellan last week and will be used at one game a week, including the rep games.
“The matchday coach can sit off the ground and provide real-time feedback on things like positioning, and also support on good decisions, positioning or teamwork,” AFL Southern NSW Umpire Development Coordinator, Troy Mavroudis, said.
“It’s an investment into improving umpiring, which is something the clubs expect.”
Umpire Cain Davey gave the system the thumbs up at Peter Hastie Oval last week, noting that the immediate feedback was much better than trying to remember particular situations in a post-game debrief.
“Sometimes after a game you get feedback saying, ‘when you were down there doing that’ but you’ve already forgotten it,” Davey said.
“If you can get feedback straight away, it’s really helpful to improve on it during a game.
“It was different (using the headphones and microphones). Once we got used to it, it was really good. You can save your voice and your energy a little bit (talking to each other).”
Mavroudis said the feedback is only provided at natural breaks in the game, to avoid distracting the umpires, and the matchday coach has no involvement in decision-making.
Davey, with Braydon McClintock and Peter Alexander, will officiate the junior game at Robertson Oval on Saturday between the Farrer and Riverina under 17.5 representative teams,
Alex Manley, James Forwood and Tim Beard have been selected to do the honours in Saturday’s showpiece senior game.