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AFL umpires to operate in teams through new trial in early rounds of AFL season

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AFL umpires will operate in specialist teams through the first three rounds of the season in a bid to accelerate the development and improve the consistency of umpiring.

The trial will see teams of three comprised of one senior umpire, one of intermediate experience and one junior umpire — sharing the first three rounds of the season.

AFL field umpires coach Hayden Kennedy said the trial — inspired by a similar model used in the NFL — was introduced to achieve greater consistency in decision making.

“We really want to develop our younger guys, so by doing it this way it gives us the opportunity to put some of the younger, developing umpires with some of the older ones and put them out into some of the bigger games so there is some real mentoring going on,” Kennedy told AFL.com.au.

“Older umpires can really lead the younger ones and [they can] work as a real team to get better performance in the next week or the week after.”

The 2014 season signifies the start of a new era for umpiring with former Richmond player Wayne Campbell taking over the top job from Jeff Gieschen, who held the position for 14 years.

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