Interpreting 50m Penalties

The AFL’s High Performance Umpires Academy recently explored the factors that need to be considered when adjudicating various types of incidents that warrant a 50m penalty. 

It is important umpires can quickly and clearly process the information before them and adjudicate a situation correctly.  Working through examples can help when faced with similar situations.

Below are factors that the AFL High Performance Umpiring Academy suggested needed to be considered in various types of incidents when determining whether they warrant a 50m penalty.

Marking contest  
  • Was the player in the contest and therefore entitled to retard the player momentarily?
  • Was the player attempting to spoil a legitimate and realistic attempt?
  • Was the passive player in the protected area at a mark or free kick making an effort to get out?
Encroaching the Mark
  • Has the player with the ball played on? It is important to keep player with the ball under observation to call play on quickly.
  • Was the player, when trailing a leading player, making an attempt to pull up or get back to the appropriate mark?
Delaying the Play
  • In kicking the ball away after a free kick or mark, should the player have known that the free kick was not to his/her team?  Where possible, a second whistle or telling the player not to kick it can ensure the player does not kick the ball away.
  • We may need to be a little lenient if a player with the free kick is not facing the player with the ball or is injured. In this instance umpires may allow the player to throw it to a team mate of the player whose kick it is if he is right next to the player. Umpires need to determine if they are delaying the play or not in this instance and use common sense.
Abuse
  • Are the actions demonstrative or language abusive or insulting?

An umpire’s ability to process factors in any given situation quickly is important to determine whether or not a 50m penalty should be awarded.

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