Let coaches have their say: Malthouse - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Let coaches have their say: Malthouse

By Guy Hand 25/08/2005 07:27:55 PM Comments (0)

The AFL has come under further pressure to loosen its gag on coaches commenting on umpires, with Collingwood's Mick Malthouse and the Western Bulldogs' Rodney Eade hitting out at the current system.

Malthouse said the AFL needed to listen more to its coaches, describing the league's coaches' conference as "the most useless thing in the history of the world" and a forum which didn't give them a fair say.

Malthouse and Eade, who have been fined $5,000 apiece in the past fortnight under the league's "zero tolerance" policy of speaking out against umpires, said the rule needed an overhaul.

Their comments come during a week in which umpire impartiality was called into question because of alleged comments by field umpire Matthew Head, while Saints coach Grant Thomas was fined $15,000 for criticising the men in white.

St Kilda also received a $5000 fine for Thomas' comments.

The AFL investigation into the Head allegation continued through Thursday.

Malthouse said allowing coaches more freedom of speech over umpiring decisions would help defuse situations like the current controversy before they got out of control.

"What we don't want to do is have umpire-bashing," Malthouse said.

"The only way that this can be overcome is a change of rule."

Malthouse also contrasted the AFL's current treatment of coaches' opinions to when he first started coaching in the 1980s.

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