by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
In 2006, St Kilda hosted Fremantle in Tasmania. The game was close with the Dockers leading by a point in the dying seconds of the game. The siren sounded but the umpires failed to hear it and the Saints proceeded to kick a point. Several Dockers did hear the siren and tried to alert the umpires. The game ended in a tie and Fremantle lodged a formal protest with the AFL. The subsequent investigation resulted in the AFL reversing the match day score and awarding the Dockers a one point victory.
During the 2010 preseason, another siren hiccup occurred during the match in Blacktown between Sydney and Carlton. With less than a minute left in the first term, a nearby train siren was mistaken by the umpires as the field siren. The error was caught and the final seconds of the opening term were played out.
Now the AFL is considering earpieces for field umpires to link them directly with the timekeepers' siren. According to umpire director Jeff Gieschen, umpires have asked for help so they know when there is only a minute or less left in a quarter. Currently, umpire coaches let the field umpires know how much time is left. An earpiece would eliminate this, as well as the need for the microphones with which umpires are currently equipped. Gieschen admitted that there were, and are, times when umpires have difficulty hearing the siren at the MCG especially when there are large, noisy crowds during tight games.
Article last changed on Monday, May 03, 2010 - 3:52 AM EDT