Sydney Swans coach Longmire calls for more help for umpires

Sydney Swans' Lance Franklin remonstrates with West Coast Eagles' Eric Mackenzie in Perth on Sunday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Sydney Swans' Lance Franklin remonstrates with West Coast Eagles' Eric Mackenzie in Perth on Sunday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


Sydney coach John Longmire has called for the AFL to urgently direct more resources towards umpiring, while denying his concerns are caused by the treatment of his star forward Lance Franklin.

Longmire said his concerns were prompted by events in two of ladder-leading Sydney's past three games.

In matches against Richmond and West Coast, Franklin was involved in intensely physical battles with defenders Alex Rance and Eric Mackenzie.

Longmire described the match in Perth last Sunday as "one of the most contested games in history" with 198 tackles laid and just 25 free kicks paid.

However, Longmire stressed his concerns were much broader than the awarding of free kicks and the treatment of Franklin, who has been given 18 free kicks this year and given away 24.

"The discussion should be about just not what happened on the weekend, and what we think should happen, or what happened against Richmond, two weeks ago," Longmire said on Tuesday.

"In a broader sense, the discussion should be pointing towards making sure we allow more resources to be dedicated towards the umpires. It's such an important part of the game. Whether the umpires become more full-time than what they are, or whether the resources dedicated to them are enough."

Asked what resources he would like directed to the umpires, Longmire said: "Everything. In regards to more coaching, to more technical help, to more on their list, just numbers-wise."

He said he was sure AFL football operations manager Mark Evans was aware of the situation, but stressed it was critical that greater resources were allocated expediently.

Longmire said it was a matter of getting the balance right in regards to Franklin.

"If he's giving away the free kicks he shouldn't be, we tell him and make sure he doesn't do it," Longmire said.

"But when we think he should be getting the free kicks, we tell him not to focus on it, just keep playing the ball."

Longmire said his coaches emphasised that point to Franklin last Sunday when he laid a career-best eight tackles in a game.

He praised the feisty forward for keeping his cool through the running battle with Mackenzie.

"I thought he maintained his composure really well and he was one of our best pressure players on the ground," Longmire said. AAP