Three influential figures are set to leave Geelong in the first major blow to the club’s premiership defence.
Geelong’s premiership defense has already taken a major curveball with three crucial outfield squads.
Following Eddie Betts’ decision to step down from his coaching role, the Cats are now dealing with the impending departure of former premiership hero Harry Taylor, who has become head of medical and conditioning services.
Taylor returns to Western Australia after only working for a year due to family and lifestyle reasons.
Football boss Simon Lloyd, who will be named North Melbourne chief executive in the coming days, suddenly has several gaps in the behind-the-scenes engine room critical to the Cats’ stunning field success in 2022. .
Taylor’s loss is a major blow, as he has become an important conduit between the medical staff and the coaching staff through his role in managing veteran superstars Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood.
Resting Selwood and catching Dangerfield for a mid-year pre-season mini race had Taylor’s fingerprints on him.
The two-time premiership defender has sold his home in Geelong and moved his young family to Geraldton in 2020 after retiring after 285 games with the Cats.
He joined a number of other former players, including James Kelly, Matthew Egan and Shannon Burns, to back their beloved sons as a major cultural victory.
Lloyd confirmed that Taylor will continue to help the Cats until Christmas before returning home permanently.
“Obviously we would love to have Harry at the club, but we understand the importance of him being back closer to his family,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd, who completed a leadership course with Dangerfield at Harvard University earlier this month, has been targeted by the Roos to fill the CEO role left vacant by the departure of Ben Amarfio in September.
He has been Geelong’s head of football since 2018 after serving as the Cats’ director of coaching. He has also been an assistant coach at Fremantle and holds high performance roles at Collingwood and Hawthorn.
If Lloyd departs, his likely successor as football manager will be Egan, who has been persuaded by new CEO Steve Hawking to return to the club as head of player development.
After a season as a part-time development coach at Kardinia Park, Betts decided to focus on his foundation, which supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
A major blow to the ranks of female AFL umpires
– Sam Landsberger
Pioneer Eleni Glouftsis is expected to remain the only female field official in 2023, despite the AFL expanding its refereeing ranks.
For next year’s men’s season, the panel will increase to at least 40 field officials to accommodate a fourth field official per match.
Women’s representation at elite level is expected to fall further from the recent 2.6 percent, with senior sources announcing that the first nine field referee vacancies for 2023 will be awarded to men.
The Herald Sun understands there will be only one woman – a goal umpire – appointed to Sunday’s AFLW decider between the Brisbane Lions and Melbourne in Springfield.
All three field umpires would be male, only a few months later Victorian woman Jordyn Pearson officiated the Adelaide-Melbourne grand final.
The All-Australian field, boundary and goal umpires at the AFLW Awards on Tuesday night were all men.
Official sources say the AFL’s decision to field nine men reflects a male-dominated program.
The league was forced to apologize for its treatment of women in May after the Herald Sun published a confidential AFL-funded report investigating the national shortage of female referees.
The AFL said it wanted to increase the number of female referees nationally from 10.8 per cent to 40 per cent, although no timeframe was set after the report.
The league confirmed to the Herald Sun on Tuesday that nine umpires had been added to the AFL panel.
“The senior umpiring panel for 2023 will be finalized once the new CBA is formalised,” an AFL spokesman said.
“Ahead of the approval of roster sizes and the new four-umpire system, nine of the best performing and most talented AFLW and state league umpires have been added to the AFL team.
“With a 63 per cent increase in the number of female umpires in the most recent AFLW season, AFL general manager of officiating Lisa Lawry’s priorities include strengthening pathways and programs to enable footy to recruit, develop and retain a talented, diverse and elite group of umpires.
“The AFL has appointed a full-time female referee academy coach to accelerate development.
“Footy will be better for increased diversity in refereeing and we are investing, resourcing and developing to ensure we get there.”
The AFL hopes the addition of a fourth on-field umpire, a decision that will cost at least an extra $1 million in salary, will extend the careers of experienced whistleblowers.
Older referees are more prone to injury when running at top speed and therefore need to stay fitter by reducing their intensity as they have less ground to cover.
A reduced physical workload, and therefore fatigue levels, should also help them make sharper decisions in late games.
However, AFL umpires have been told that their decision-making actually deviated from the recent trials of four umpires.
However, this data collected during the AFL’s farewell tours covers a very small sample size and therefore does not appear to be a deterrent to the idea.
Brownlow markets dumped after scandal
– John Ralph
The AFL has called for referees to sign weekly confidentiality clauses and forced game partners to scrap some betting markets as part of changes to protect the integrity of the Brownlow Medal.
The Herald Sun understands the league is adamant it believes the Brownlows are the right group to vote for given the fallout from the Brownlow leak scandal.
It will review its protocols and training for referees after referee Michael Pell was arrested by Victoria Police this year as part of an alleged Brownlow Medal leak.
The league believes that these protocols are well-functioning and have resulted in the exposure of these bets, leaving organizations powerless to stop a person with privileged information against the rules.
But as part of that review, it could still tighten some procedures and review what types of bets are legal under AFL rules.
The league has already banned many in-game spot bets, which allow fans in some codes to bet on specific moments such as an individual’s goal kick.
Pell has not yet been charged, but police have questioned a series of bets on three-pitch appearances in specific games discovered by the league’s betting partners.
Former AFL umpires, including Matthew Head and Derek Humphrey-Smith, are baffled by the nature of the allegations, given the strict protocols surrounding the casting of Brownlow votes and the ongoing push not to reveal those votes.
But even if jurors sign a standard agreement that reinforces the secrecy of the vote, Humphery-Smith, a workplace law expert, said Wednesday that a confidentiality act may need to be signed every week.
The executive now works in risk management in the insurance industry and said one senior umpire votes for Brownlow in a locked box at AFL House as soon as possible after a game.
But he believes those votes may need to be submitted electronically in future to limit the chance of leaks as jurors fly back with their votes from non-Victoria locations.
Industry experts believe the league could ensure that official betting partners do not allow special markets, such as Brownlow votes, on a particular game that are open days before the medal is awarded.
Many of the more specific spot betting markets once seen in cricket and tennis no longer exist to minimize the chances of corruption or leaks, and the AFL already vetoes a number of in-game options.
Landers and Rogers partner Humphery-Smith said the AFL could not accept fans questioning the legitimacy of the Brownlow Medal.
“I would imagine the AFL will be looking carefully at the safeguards that are currently in place. “They will strengthen the training as soon as they come back before pre-season football,” he said.
“It’s already high, but they might consider raising awareness by having jurors sign a non-disclosure agreement. I don’t like to throw out terms like non-disclosure agreements but some sort of confidentiality act.
“I think the AFL’s integrity unit and the sporting integrity of Victoria Police will be severely undercut. In terms of employment law, these are the steps I would take.
“They will heighten the jurors’ already strong emotions.”
Betting experts said the size of the bets allegedly placed on more than 10 AFL games would have immediately red-flagged bookmakers in what is a fairly murky market.
It is alleged that the bets are spread among many betting agencies.
“They’re going to sit down with these betting companies,” Humphrey-Smith said.
“Do they really need these bets or can they do it differently? If the conversation hasn’t happened yet, it will definitely be considered. The risk arises due to the existing markets.
Under AFL protocols, all umpires hand over their mobile phones before the game and only return them after the Brownlow votes have been presented. Votes are sealed before an additional red security seal is affixed to the envelope to prevent tampering.
The sealed envelope is signed by the three judges with a red seal and placed in a tamper-proof bag, which is then kept out of bounds with the sealed ballots audited throughout the season by accounting firm KPMG.
The chief officiated the end of AFL games in 2008, but said even then the league brought in Victoria Police representatives to lecture officials about the dangers of betting and leaks.
“Even if there were people floating around the rooms, people who could listen in on the vote, you would wait for everyone to leave or even go back to the hotel room before voting,” he said.
“I can say from the heart that I have never heard an inappropriate comment. A referee is given the paperwork and he takes the team sheets, Brownlow’s votes and papers and puts them in an envelope.
“They drop it into the AFL right after the game in a little mailbox with a lock and key. After an interstate game, you would return it on your way back from the airport.
“I think it can be done electronically. “That’s probably the way to do it, and some local leagues are experimenting with it.”
Originally published as AFL: Geelong Cats set to lose three key outfield figures