AFL Memo: Clarification of Deliberate Out of Bounds | Titus O'Reily

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AFL Memo: Clarification of Deliberate Out of Bounds

A memo from the National Umpiring Director Peter Schwab to all umpires regarding the Deliberate Out of Bounds Rule (DOOB) has been leaked. Here it is in full.

FROM: National Umpiring Director


In recent weeks, the deliberate out of bounds rule has been the source of significant criticism from key stakeholders in the Football Marketplace of Ideas.

As a result, and to make your job easier, we have clarified the rule and added even more interpretation, the solution to all umpiring problems.

Here is the updated rule, to be applied from this round:

Law 15.6.1(c) A free kick shall be awarded against a player who:

  • Intentionally kicks, handballs or forces the football over the boundary line, without the football being touched by another player.

The primary consideration in determining DOOB is the player’s intent or what mood the closest umpire is in at the time.

A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t rewarded DOOB for a while, just decide that the next ball out will be deliberate, then pause a long time when it happens for the drama and award it.

The below indicators can assist your decision-making process:

  • Do you like the player or are they on the secret protected list?
  • Has the player made a genuine skill error? If they have, don’t worry give a free against them anyway.
  • Is the player kicking the ball off the ground under pressure? If so, the player will not be penalised unless it’s a critical moment in the game and the resulting free kick will significantly affect the outcome of the game.
  • Is the player kicking the ball up the field to teammates, or is he kicking the up the ground with the intention of finding the boundary line? The ability to read minds comes in handy here, if you can’t do that, just take a wild stab.
  • Did the ball travel past several opponents who could have picked it up but didn’t in the hope you’d pay deliberate? Then reward this as DOOB. It’s a wonderful look for the sport.
  • Did the player dispose of the ball in a clever ruse of fumbling and even though it’s obviously deliberate you appreciated the acting skills? Then don’t pay a free.
  • At least once a quarter, don’t reward an obvious DOOB to keep things interesting.
  • If DOOB is awarded up the other end, wait until an identical situation occurs up your end, then make the polar opposite decision.

As always, Razor can interpret this rule based on the camera being on him and the theatrical potential of the moment.

A reminder, with Mark Evans leaving, the Hawthorn Special Treatment Loading is no longer in place.

DOOB is less science, more art. As always, we are not looking for consistency or fairness, our aim is uncertainty and confusion, transitioning to anger.

I hope this makes things more difficult for you.

Yours in confusion


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Mick 2 May 2017

Can you please clearly mark your articles as either 'satire' or 'news'? I just can't tell anymore. This one is a genuine leak, right?

Lyle 2 May 2017

Could be satire or news or even fake news so 3 possible options, could Titus actually be Peter (has anyone ever seen them together )?? Just leave it the way it is the confusion adds brilliantly to the sport!! More importantly will they ever penalize The Bont for anything?

Jonathon Beverage 2 May 2017


David Whyte 2 May 2017

You forgot if it's in front of the away cheer squad and the home team deliberately takes it out, then its a throw in but if its front of the home cheer squad and the away team kicks it off the side the boot after trying to hit his own team mate in the centre square pay deliberate and when the cheers begin start acting like your in Eddies corner

JEFF 2 May 2017

Has anyone considered removing the boundary line altogether? Let the ball rebound off the fence and just get on with play. If it goes over the fence it's out on the full. No more short throw ins, no arguments over third man up. Makes perfect sense.

Bricat 2 May 2017

And would save a truck load of money on the thousand or so umpires required per game - as surely the field umps could handle this competently? Hmn... maybe not... scratch that.

Steve 2 May 2017

This is an excellent idea! Sort of like Ice Hockey.

Aussie Pete 2 May 2017

Good idea JEFF, maybe we could solve all these interpretations by playing without a ball at all.

DW 2 May 2017

Genius Jeff. Only suggestion I can add - if it bounces into the crowd, it's play on. Seve Ballesteros won a memorable British Open golf title hitting it from a carpark. How good would a 60m punt be out of the stands?

Jim 2 May 2017

I think you have just coined a new term that the crowd should shout at the Umpire. Be great for the game to hear a big DOOOOOOOOOOOOOB! every time the ball goes out of bounds.

On a serious note the rule should be changed to the way the SANFL plays it. It is black + white and no arguments. (kick or handpass and it goes over the line without a player touching it and it goes to the opposition, fumbled or tapped over the line it is a throw in)

Give me a spell 2 May 2017

I can only hope you're kidding about the last touch rule being implemented into the AFL!

Mick 2 May 2017

Nah, you got it right the first time, Jim. 30,000 people crying "DOOB" will add far more to the spectacle than clarity or consistency ever will.

The simplicity of the SANFL approach should be purely a last resort measure.

Moon 2 May 2017

Penalise the Bont for anything? I'D LIKE TO SEE THAT!!!!!

Paul 8 May 2017

He got penalized for 2 things on Saturday and another 2 things against GWS so I don't know what you're on about

John Sammy Newman 2 May 2017

Titus, the DOOB is a disgrace, but the holding the ball (or lack thereof) is the bigger disgrace. Apparently we are taking a leaf from Thugby, in that as soon as you get tackled you can just throw it away, drop it, let it go - whatever - and it's play on. And can we please have the Leigh Matthews statue from the MCG removed, or at the very least desecrated and vandalised on a weekly basis.

Brent 2 May 2017

I love the way it's being adjudicated, I have so many more opportunities to randomly scream-"ON PURPOSE!"or "He MEANT IT!!"-what about IT WAS HIS INTENTION SIR"!

TassieDocker 2 May 2017

There is a character named Doobs on the awesome web series Jake and Amir and he too is irritating, illogical, confusing and prone to changes of opinion. Maybe Schwab is a fan of Doobs?

Tony 2 May 2017

As long as Razor Ray keeps getting opportunities to ham in up for his throng of fans it's all good. It is after all, all about the umpires.

Tony 2 May 2017

Wrong !!!! It's not about "the Umpires" at all - it's ALL about Razor Ray !!!

Paul 2 May 2017

What about making the boundary line squiggly? That should clear things up.

Tim 2 May 2017

easiest thing would be to remove the ball from the game completely and just have a bunch of dudes running round playing tips.

TP 2 May 2017

Love the existentialist removal of the ball and squiggly line ideas! And maybe we add a Y to DOOB and the result would really clear things up. Not.
Little concerned about the 'Mollom' privacy policy... sounds painful

Michelle 2 May 2017

You can tell the sanfl isn't run by the afl. Logical rules, what a kooky and unprofessional concept.

Pieman. 2 May 2017

I classify this article a DOOB! Free kick to Hawthorn.

PF 2 May 2017

My copy of the rules memorandum has Western Bulldogs written over the top of Hawthorn in red marker. I just want to know is this the current version?

2ndeffort 2 May 2017

Noticing that intent seems to be a key feature in adjudication perhaps we could find other opportunities to award free kicks based upon what umpires, fans, tv commentators, printouts of players biorhythms or even Facebook polls consider to have shown intent. For example On current form half the Sydney team should be suspended for their intent to offend fans and sponsors.

Westie 2 May 2017

Titus, you are a genius!

Nick of South Melbourne 3 May 2017

How should we factor "prior opportunity" into this algorithm?

Cam 3 May 2017

Every stadium seat should have a small electronic voting machine on it and the spectators can vote on whether the umpire should die or be allowed to live after each decision. Kind of like the Romans at the Collesium.

Greig 3 May 2017

Hey Titus how come you blocked me on twitter?

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