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Malthouse calls for respect between players and umpires

The Age logo The Age 11/06/2014 Jon Pierik
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Carlton coach Mick Malthouse says skipper Marc Murphy was treated disrespectfully by an AFL umpire, declaring relations between players and the game's adjudicators need major improvement.

As several contentious rules frustrate players and coaches alike, Malthouse has again called for relations between players and umpires to be more like those in rugby union.

The Blues have experienced several contentious on-field decisions in losses to Brisbane and Geelong in the past fortnight, prompting Malthouse and his right-hand man, Robert Wiley, to meet with the AFL's umpiring department tomorrow afternoon.

Before Friday night's clash against Hawthorn, in which he all but assured Chris Judd of a senior recall, Malthouse has called for umpires to not refer to players by their nicknames.

"It is not a matter of whipping umpires," he said today. "That is the last thing we intend to do because we know how difficult it is. [But] it is the interpretation from week to week or from last year to this year.

"We know there is a new broom has gone through [the umpiring department]. But we are now increasingly frustrated with the week-to-week and umpire-to-umpire interpretation.

"It is a difficult game to umpire but it's no more or no less difficult than union, in particular, who have an outstanding system.

"It's something that I have now advocated for years: that the respect shown between the players and referee in union and gridiron - we will put that aside basically because it's an American game - there is a massive amount of respect for the decision and union can be very bewildering in its rules because coaches can't quite pick up what they are doing."

Preparing to become just the second man after Collingwood's Jock McHale to coach 700 VFL/AFL matches, Malthouse called for AFL umpires, like their union counterparts, to not refer to players by their nicknames.

"It is numbers [in union], not nicknames," Malthouse said. "It's not, 'I forget that name so I will call him his surname or forget his first name so I will use his nickname.'

"It's very much done on a basis that is highly professional: 'Yes sir, I need to talk to you and the captain about this.'

"What it does is build a fantastic respect, because you know the rule is there and the referee has administered that particular rule and, as a consequence, it is discussed."

Malthouse then referred to two recent incidents involving his players.

"Therefore the things that worry me, and I will say a couple of things that took place [against Carlton players]: 'Don't be a clever ... get on with the game.' That is to our captain who questioned a decision."

He said another umpire had said to a player who questioned a decision: "You should have got to the contest."

"We don't need to know that; we don't need those remarks," Malthouse said.

Judd is set to resume against the Hawks, having negotiated a predetermined 60 per cent of each quarter in the VFL last weekend in his return from a hamstring tear.

He lasted only five minutes in his only senior match of the season, against the Western Bulldogs, when used as a substitute in round five.

"He didn't slay them with possession rate [in the VFL] but what he did was get through the game," Malthouse said. "He was actually out there for the full four quarters and that was designed and he got through that."

Judd needed only to avoid injury and pull up well from training today to ensure his selection.

"The only thing that will stop him now is how he pulls up," Malthouse said.

Malthouse, however, would not buy into a back-room spat involving Blues recruiting boss Shane Rogers, who is on the verge of quitting the club in the belief incoming president Mark LoGiudice and powerbroker Bruce Mathieson have been orchestrating his removal.

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