There are times when you watch football and question whether you really heard or saw what you think you did. There was one of these moments during the telecast of Hawthorn’s big win over Collingwood to kick off the finals series, and unfortunately, it had nothing to do with the contest.
Leigh Matthews, who is a current member of the AFL rules committee, let slip a certain comment, one which he should have thought about before parting his lips.
“Just because I’m on the rules committee doesn’t mean I know all the rules.”
Needless to say, a comment of that magnitude from someone that is part of a selected group to decide the laws of our game is enough to raise a few eyebrows.
Matthews followed up his comment by saying he “probably should” know all the rules. Leigh Matthews is obviously a great of the game, and will go down in history as one of the best players and coaches if he hasn’t already, but for him to say that he “probably should” have a grasp of the rules is nothing short of a really unfunny joke. It’s along the same path as a dentist with bad teeth.
It’s very rare that one single comment can reduce just about all of your faith, but when Matthews uttered what he did upon questioning about a dubious umpire call during the telecast, it proved that there are serious issues with the way the game is being run.
When a member of the committee in charge of managing the laws of the game openly states that he doesn’t know all the correct rules, that is confirmation that something needs to change.
One of the biggest qualms supporters have when it comes to footy is the umpiring. More specifically, the way the umpires are told to call games and the constant chopping and changing of rules. Possibly one of the only things keeping some faith alive is the assumption that those upstairs have a grasp of what is going on. That remaining faith can now rightfully be questioned.
This is the same committee that want to add to and change the current list of rules, with one example being the possible introduction of an extra substitute in place of a bench position next season.
Players and supporters persistently say that they are unsure of the rules. If the rules committee, which includes the likes of Adrian Anderson and Kevin Bartlett, are also unsure of the rules, what’s the point of having a rules committee to dictate what is and what isn’t allowed?
Maybe even more importantly, what’s the point of considering new rules if the current ones have not been grasped?
For the sake of the game, you’d hope that the comments of Leigh Matthews are acted upon. If there is any doubt in the minds of any members of the rules committee regarding any of the rules, they either need to be educated – quickly – or moved on.