All-Australian umpire axed for decider - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All-Australian umpire axed for decider

By Robert Grant 23/09/2008 03:16:59 PM Comments (0)

All-Australian umpire Brett Rosebury was a controversial omission when the umpire line-up for this weekend's AFL grand final was unveiled on Tuesday.

Rosebury was named the league's top umpire just a week ago but AFL Umpires Association boss Jeff Gieschen said he was dropped because of poor form in the finals.

Instead, veteran Scott McLaren, Michael Vozzo and grand final debutant Shaun Ryan were named to oversee the game between Geelong and Hawthorn.

Rosebury was described on the AFLUA website as an official who had had an "exceptional" year, having been selected for all 22 rounds as well as the State of Origin match between Victoria and the Dream Team.

But Gieschen said he had performed poorly over the past three weeks.

He said the criteria for eligibility to umpire the grand final depended on an umpire's performance each week including assessment after each final.

"Your ranking at the end of the home-and-away season doesn't guarantee you a grand final position," Gieschen said. "Just like the clubs, you can finish on top of the ladder but it doesn't necessarily guarantee you a grand final position."

Gieschen said that in last week's preliminary finals, McLaren, Vozzo and Ryan had umpired better than Rosebury.

"Through the finals series probably Brett was a little bit below the form that he'd shown throughout the home-and-away season.

"It's probably an unusual situation in that we have to name our All-Australian umpire prior to the grand final.

"I think it's only in the last two or three years we've had to do that - in previous years, at our recommendation, we've waited until after the grand final."

McLaren, who has umpired 320 games, including four grand finals and was All-Australian in 2001, said the umpires would not change their approach despite an expected higher level of physicality this Saturday.

"Every grand final that I've done there's always hype," McLaren said. "We just umpire what's in front of us and not lose focus.

"I think the important thing is, we don't have to change anything, we'll just keep doing what we've done all year because that's got us to where we are and that's been obviously a winning formula for us."

Vozzo umpired in the 2006 grand final among 214 games while Ryan has 135 games and 11 finals.

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