Hayden Kennedy has resigned as the AFL Umpires Head Coach after eight years in the role.
Kennedy notified the AFL’s umpiring team on Tuesday night that he won’t be continuing in his position after Round 10.
It’s unclear why Kennedy decided to quit his post, but Sportsday host Sam McClure understands there has been “growing friction” between senior AFL umpires and AFL football operations Steve Hocking.
AFL umpire Ray Chamberlain was asked whether any friction led to Kennedy’s shock resignation.
“No, is the short answer,” Chamberlain told SEN’s Whateley.
“We’ve never been more heard than we are right now. It is a high-performance environment. We’ve got issues in terms of where do we train and how do we bring everyone together.
“There are all these unique things in what we are also still dealing with now, which is COVID fallout etc. There are all these clunky bits and pieces going on, but is there friction? Absolutely not.
“To be quite frank, that’s crap.”
Chamberlain paid tribute to the 55-year-old who umpired 495 VFL/AFL games and five Grand Finals.
“It was a shock to all of us. It was a bit of a sombre mood after it (announcement),” he said.
“He (Kennedy) was my idol … I wanted to be that. Revered? He was the man.
“But more importantly than that with Hayden - and it’s potentially something that was part of why he had to stop – is that he’s such a good human. He genuinely cares for all of us.
“Whilst Hayden Kennedy is a revered on-field umpire and an absolute freak … he’s a better human.”
Kennedy’s replacement is yet to be confirmed.