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Ratten applauds AFL crackdown on dissent

Amid all the furore around the AFL crackdown on umpire dissent, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten is a huge fan.

It’s been the issue of the week, with much media commentary about players being hit with 50m penalties for throwing up their arms in frustration about umpiring calls.

The league is adamant about the need for AFL players to show more respect for umpires, saying Australian Rules is about 6000 short at community level.

The AFL’s argument is how umpires are treated at the top level filters down to lower competitions.

“It’s fantastic and I really applaud the AFL for making a stand,” Ratten said.

“We’re 6000 umpires short at community level and we need umpires out there.

“I went the other week to watch my son play and there was a 15-year-old umpire. Every decision he made, nobody booed or cried out.

“They just let him umpire and it was so pleasing to see – that’s what we want.”

Ratten was pressed on the issue at his Thursday media conference and made it clear he sees no wriggle room with the league’s position.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time to get used to it, but you look at other sport and other codes in Australia and around the world, the respect for the umpire is critical,” he said.

“We need to start it and the top … hopefully, within a short period, we see it at local level.

“It is the damned hardest job there is.”

Ratten was also having no talk about confusion among players and clubs about the league’s position and how it is being policed during games.

“We have all week, haven’t we? We’ve got Monday to Friday, we have all week to clarify certain things,” he said.

“If we put anything in for clarification, they’re straight back with an email … we know exactly where we sit.”

Equally, the Saints coach was philosophical about not all players being penalised for disagreeing with an umpiring call.

“It’s a balance. They’re going to miss some, they’re going to get some,” he said

“A player is going to miss a goal when he should kick it.

“A coach is going to give the wrong message.

“We’re all going to have a blue in the game … let’s focus on the good things, how many good decisions did they make?

“We need to support the umpires more.”

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