Premiership coaches Simon Goodwin and Chris Scott have leapt to defend AFL umpires, saying they're in an unwinnable position amid fresh controversy.
Melbourne coach Goodwin is disappointed umpires are again copping criticism.
"I'm a bit disappointed this week that we get to a situation where everyone's now in a position where we're going to be quite negative towards the umpires," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"We have to be quite careful as an industry that we don't go down that path and we continue to respect and want our young people to get into umpiring."
Geelong coach Scott said umpiring standards had risen as they adjust to new rules that had improved the game.
"What we have seen is an incredible ability of players to adapt, and umpires as well," Scott told reporters on Wednesday.
"So maybe if those two cohorts can adapt, maybe the rest of us should try a bit harder to adapt as well."
Scott said it would be a "pathway to anarchy" for umpires to adjudicate more on a feel for the game and use common sense rather than strictly interpret rules.
"I guarantee you, as soon as a mistake is made, then when the umpire says 'well, I was just using my common sense' ... the push back would be: we are not asking for your feel, we're not asking you to coach players, we're not asking you to selectively interpret the rules, we are asking you to officiate them," he said.
" ... You can see how that's a dangerous position to take.
"That we're asking a big cohort of umpires, all with slightly different views on what constitutes feel of the game, to ignore the rules and just overlay what you think is going to impact the game and what isn't.
"You can't win ... they (umpires) are just in an unwinnable position."
Scott, who often reacts emotionally to umpiring decisions while coaching, understood the frustration of fans.
"When we (coaches) are locked away in the box, so often your hands are tied, there's not much you can do in certain situations, so you're reduced to the level of a fan," he said.
"And people say 'do you get frustrated?' Of course we get frustrated.
"But I watch games where I have no dog in the fight and I almost never come away thinking 'gee, the umpires were terrible there'.
"But as soon as I do have a dog in the fight, every decision gets analysed and I can't believe how incompetent they look. Now, I think that's more on me than it is on them."
Scott believed umpiring standards had improved "a lot" over the past 10 to 20 years.
"Go back and watch footy from 20 years ago, they weren't asked to do anything like what the current umpires are doing," he said.
"And you say: 'well, why make the rules more complicated?'
"Because it has made the game better - six-six-six, the stand rule, has changed the game for the better.
"No-one who can look at it impassionately could argue against that but it has made umpiring harder, so which one do you want?"
Australian Associated Press
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