The AFL hierarchy has encountered a multitude of dramas so far this year.
Most of these problems have been handled skilfully, considering the circumstances, but one over-lying disgrace remains.
That is the standard of umpiring which, again in the main, is going from bad to worse.
Without buying into the last seconds decision that brought Carlton an after-the-siren victory over Fremantle the lowly level of umpiring is lamentable.
The most inexcusable factor is the inconsistency which has everyone from coaches, to players, to commentators, to viewers and fans at the game in a state of total confusion.
This particularly surrounds the mess where incorrect disposal is concerned.
Time-and-time again incorrect disposal goes unpunished and only to have an emphatic ruling In a borderline case.
Another disturbing issue which requires immediate attention regards the rule of holding the ball, which the umpires certainly need clarification on because they just don’t seem to know what is involved.
While it must be said, in fairness, that the AFL board of management has numerous other important items on the agenda the situation regarding the degree that umpiring is going downhill definitely needs fixing, and quickly, because the game is suffering.
One answer, which is not unreasonable given the amount of money involved, would be to make the senior umpires full-time professionals.
It would not be hard to work out those worthy of a contract.
For example those officiating in the West Coast match against Hawthorn at Optus Stadium – Dean Margetts, Daniel Johanson and Nathan Williamson – produced, arguably, the most efficient display so far this season.
That made the match a pleasure to watch as the Eagles notched up a comfortable 32-point victory over the Hawks, who managed to lift their game in the second half.
It was the seventh successive win for West Coast after a relatively dismal opening to the season when playing away from home.
The side is certainly laden with having Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and now Liam Ryan in attack; Shannon Hurn and Jeremy McGovern in defense and headliner Nic Naitanui in the ruck as well as a reliable back-up contingent.
There seems no way of stopping the Eagles scoring an eighth consecutive win when they encounter Greater Western Sydney at Optus on Sunday night.
Unfortunately the Giants must be labelled as pretenders.
They suffered their fifth loss of the season when thumped by the struggling Sydney in Round 12.
Where they should have been certainties for the finals, with a low percentage, the club’s odds of making the play-offs are now lengthening rapidly.
Whether Gold Coast or Carlton can earn a place in the final eight will hinge, largely, on the outcome of Friday night’s clast at TIO Stadium in Darwin.
While the Blues scored a confidence boosting four-point win over Fremantle in sensational circumstances the leg weary Suns went down by 21 points to Richmond on Monday night.
Given that Gold Coast has only a three-day break Carlton should prove triumphant.
Last Week Tipped: 7
Carlton by 25pts
Melbourne by 10pts
Hawthorn by 6pts
Richmond by 12pts
Fremantle by 10pts
Geelong by 21pts
St. Kilda by 16pts
West Coast by 36pts
North Melbourne by 3pts