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“All power to the umpires”: AFL great encourages umpires to pay more free kicks


AFL great Gerard Healy believes umpires are paying too few free kicks.

Speaking before Friday night’s clash between Sydney and Richmond, Healy says he doesn’t have a problem with the number of free kicks that are being paid – declaring it makes for a more entertaining game.

In the wake of last weekend’s fixture, there was much chat regarding the match officials for paying too many free kicks, David King pleading with the AFL to “have some tolerance” whilst Kane Cornes labelled some of the officiating a “shocking look” for our game.

Healy certainly does not agree with that stance and has urged the umpiring fraternity to continue calling the game as they see it.

“I don’t have a problem with the number (of free kicks being paid), people will say there’s too much whistle, I don’t see that, the one thing about free kicks is – it gets the game going," Healy said on AFL Nation.

“I haven’t got a problem with the number, in fact, I think we pay too few free kicks.

“Leigh Matthews reminded us during the week that one of the greatest Grand Finals in 1973, where it was 28 goals – there were 85 free kicks.

“I played in games where there were 80 free kicks, it didn’t worry me.”

Speaking after the clash between the Swans and the Tigers that was marred in controversy due to the officiating, Healy doubled down, saying we’ve unlocked the secret to entertaining games with high scores.

“31 goals divided by 61 free kicks; I think we have unlocked the secret,” he added.

“All power to the umpires, the problem with free kicks is, everyone disagrees with free kicks, then comes pressure because they get criticised, and that’s one of the reasons why you minimise free kicks, but we like 30 goals in a game.”

Sydney overcame a 33-point deficit to beat the Tigers by 6 points in a Friday night classic.

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