Round 15 – Western Bulldogs v West Coast: If you don’t mind umpire!




The umpire’s change-rooms prior to the Bulldogs/West Coast match 1st July at Etihad Stadium. Senior umpire BRETT ROBBERY is about to address his fellow-umpires regarding an urgent message just received. In attendance are field-umpires ANDREW STINGY, ANDREW MISERLY and goal-umpire CHELSEA CLOSE-ENOUGH.


ROBBERY: OK boys and girls. Gather round. Word’s come through from higher places that certain changes have to be made out there today. Nothing big. Just a bit
of tweaking.


STINGY: What’s Schwabby on about now?


ROBBERY: Not Schwabby this time. A lot higher up the chain.




ROBBERY: Not even close. We’re talking real influence here. The people who make Gil jump into action. The people that decide where we get a gig next week.


STINGY: The bloody media!


ROBBERY: Spot on! In this case it was our mates from ‘What-a-Crock Media’.


CHELSEA: What-a-Crock! I wouldn’t trust that mob. They were supposed to interview me about being the first glamour-goal umpire at AFL level. A chance to raise my profile even higher… if that’s possible. And I’ve heard nothing!


ROBBERY: They’ve started spreading the word that the Bulldogs are getting too many frees.


MISERLY: I thought it was just a few coaches whinging. One of them was the North coach. When they checked the recent stats, they found they were getting roughly the same amount of frees as the Bulldogs anyway!


ROBBERY: The media and the coaches started their campaign about too many frees for the Bulldogs straight after the grand-final. There was a lot of people dirty on the Bulldogs winning that premiership from seventh place. They went after the Dogs first about their hand-ball technique, but they’ve shut up now we’ve declared most of the Dogs’ handballs illegal. Anyway, now we have to give them less frees apparently. ( pause) Chelsea, do you really have to put more lippy and make-up on before we go out there?


CHELSEA: It’s alright for some of you media darlings. I’ll be looking for a career when I     finish waving these bloody flags! If it’s not What-a-Crock Media it will be one of the ladies’ mags that’ll come calling. (pause) So what are you going to do to take a few more frees off the Bulldogs?


ROBBERY: Well, there’s a few things we can do. Down at the Eagle’s end it will be easy enough. If you’re in doubt about any decision, wait for the roar from the Eagle’s fans and then pay a free-kick against the Bulldogs. Let the crowd response be your guide as we bring a bit of Subiaco bias into the mix.


STINGY: What about not awarding them free-kicks in front of their home crowd?


ROBBERY: Well, if we are queried by anyone important, like someone from the media, we’ll just repeat what the commentators say. “ The players blocked our view so the incident was unsighted ”. That’s an easy one.


MISERLY: What about ducking versus round the neck?


STINGY: Yeah. Like the way we fixed up Selwood! The Bulldogs have got McLean. He’s a serial ducker. So no frees for you McLean! Next! (everyone laughs).


CHELSEA: What can I do to help?


ROBBERY: You might have to work with the boundary umpires. Try and convince them the ball did actually go out on the full if it’s near the point post when a Bulldog player kicks it. The boundary umps don’t know about our… er… free-kick adjustment techniques, so just use your charms.


CHELSEA: Well as long as I get lots of close-ups. When there’s a goal-review or when a brawl breaks out nearby and especially when my cap comes off as I try to avoid the full-back crashing into me. The photographers love to get those shots.


ROBBERY: I’m sure you’ll be on the front and back pages Chelsea. Now we have to go. Everyone knows what to do if we want to stay on the senior list. We have to end up with an even number of free-kicks or with the Eagles slightly ahead. We’ll check again at half-time if we need any further re-adjustment. If anyone feels this is all a bit suss, just remember that umpiring on the Gold Coast at this time of year is far better than being sent to Blundstone Arena in Hobart. Now get out there and adjust those frees!



About Neil Anderson

Enjoys reading and writing about the Western Bulldogs. Instead of wondering if the second premiership will ever happen, he can now bask in the glory of the 2016 win.


  1. Methinks he doth protest too much. Stringer as Hamlet? Johannisen the fool? Reckon he’s taken $200K off his contract value in the last month.

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Methinks I didn’t protest enough. I paid for a seat on Level 2 to look down on that debacle. The Bulldog fans as usual aren’t loud enough when umpiring decisions go against them, and there were a lot, believe me. We were at the Eagles end above their cheer-squad so we copped the full Subiaco blast.
    So it was all the umpires’ fault that the Dogs got done. It wasn’t Vardy winning all the hit-outs and kicking goals, or Petrie playing out of his skin like he does every time he plays the Dogs. It wasn’t because of Stringer not getting a kick before half-time or JJ acting like a scared little mouse and forgetting that he was a Norm Smith Medalist! It was the bloody umpires conspiring behind closed doors.
    And yes, JJ will be a cheap pick-up for you next year.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Superb Neil.

    Reckon there was a very similar conversation between those in fluorescent colours at the Queens Birthday Monday game.

  4. Neil Anderson says

    Thanks Luke
    I never usually bother about umpires and never check which team got the most frees. But on Saturday, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing with missed free-kicks for the Dogs and doubtful frees given to the Eagles. I was with my mate Stuart and we were both stunned at some of the decisions.
    I even said to Stuart at the time that someone has got to these umpires regarding criticism about the Dogs getting too many frees. So that’s why I wrote the short satirical play about who might be to blame.

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