Umpires are instructed to recall the ball and throw it up in the centre square if their initial bounce travels outside the circle perimeter and Hardie, who urged them to work on the practice after constant sub-standard examples this year, clashed with Genovese after a caller said the the iconic centre bounce should remain.
“I used to agree with you Brad: that the expectation should be that they nail it every single time,” said Genovese, who used to run around for Subiaco in the WAFL.
“But then I had a go of bouncing the ball in the middle of a footy oval and it hit me in the face and it was the most embarrassing thing and I remember thinking, ‘Gee this is a lot harder than it looks’.”
Hardie said throwing the ball up would become an “absolute foodfest” if ruckmen with great leaps like West Coast’s Nic Naitanui knew exactly how high the ball was going to be, citing legendary WA tap exponents Stephen Michael and Graham Farmer as exemplars of the skill required to counteract imperfect bounces inside the circle.
“We’re not another sport, we are Australian rules football, which has been around for 150 years,” Hardie said.
“There is history in this game and part of the history is bouncing the ball and that’s all they’ve got to do.
“And if you blokes want to play basketball, or something else that is so predictable, go right ahead my friend.”
“I think Hardie might have just hung up on you Gena,” bemused co-host Carmen Braidwood quipped.
“Nah … did he really? We’ve still got calls on the line of people wanting to talk to him,” Genovese bemoaned.
“All I’m saying is, if you throw the ball up, a coach who knows that his ruckman isn’t as good as the other ruckman will set up differently to try win the clearance. Coaches and other players will adapt.”
Former Dockers captain Matthew Pavlich
David writes about sports and lifestyle for WAtoday.