Mininera and District Football League set to keep new rule in for remainder of season

Picture: Peter Pickering.
Picture: Peter Pickering.

A new rule trialed by the Mininera and District Football League to scrap boundary umpires in junior and reserves games is likely to be in place for the remainder of the season.

The rule, where the field umpire would bring the ball in 10m from the boundary and ball it up instead of a boundary throw-in, was initially part of a five-week trial with the league’s board set to meet on Monday with the rule likely to be implemented for the remaining 11 rounds.

League chairman John Box said the issue will be on the agenda at the meeting with a decision to be made regarding the rule’s implementation for the rest of the season.

“At this stage I think it will stay in, everyone seems quite happy about it from everyone I have spoken to,” he said.

“The majority of clubs think it is working quite well and agree with it and it seems to be serving its purpose.”

The rule change was prompted after many clubs had trouble finding volunteers to fill the boundary umpire roles each week with the league and clubs meeting preseason to discuss the idea.

The league is yet to commit to implementing the rule beyond 2018 but said it was open to the idea of making it permanent if clubs were on board.

“As long as the clubs are happy then we would look at it,” Box said.

“We are having a forum in a month then another after the season where it will be discussed again and we will decide after that what happens for next season and beyond.

“It will be up to the clubs if they want it and if they agree, then we will certainly look at it.”

With many stakeholders involved in the decision, Box said the umpires and players had embraced the new change in the first five weeks of the season.

“I have been around to a few games, asked umpires and players and I think one umpire wasn’t happy but the rest are all satisfied with it so far,” he said.

Despite the success, Box said it is unlikely to expand to the senior football games.

“My feelings are it should only stay with reserves and juniors, I would not think about introducing it to seniors currently,” he said.

The league has this weekend off with games to resume on May 26.