AFL backs Thomas' heavy ump abuse fine

The fine imposed on Carlton's Dale Thomas for umpire abuse has been backed by the AFL.
The fine imposed on Carlton's Dale Thomas for umpire abuse has been backed by the AFL.

The AFL has rejected player backlash about Dale Thomas' heavy tribunal fine, saying the time has come for a crackdown on umpire abuse.

Football operations boss Steve Hocking also said on Wednesday that the match review process is working well and consistently, despite considerable debate about several rulings this month.

Thomas was fined $7500 on Tuesday after the Carlton veteran was referred directly to the tribunal for abusing a boundary umpire.

Prominent players such as Patrick Dangerfield and Jordan Lewis feel the punishment is too harsh, a claim Hocking rejected.

"There's almost been a tolerance around that," Hocking said of umpire abuse.

"Potentially we've walked past it - we're not doing that anymore.

"As a collective, we have to recognise that. It's got to be a safer environment."

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott said ideally, money should be going into players' pockets rather than out.

But he added there had to be a deterrent.

Also on Tuesday night, Richmond were left fuming when the tribunal upheld the one-game striking ban for ruckman Ivan Soldo.

It came after incidents where Brownlow Medallists Nat Fyfe and Gary Ablett escaped sanction for high contact, while no action was taken against GWS ruckman Shane Mumford for an incident that left Carlton veteran Marc Murphy with broken ribs.

Hocking said Mumford was not solely responsible for Murphy's injury and generally defended the match review findings.

"We think that we've found consistency in that decision making," he said.

"There will be fans out there who will talk about potentially it depends (on) who's going up - the reality is, you actually have to have some impact, particularly within play.

"If you look ... particularly at the Richmond one, (it was) behind play and off the ball."

Thomas' abuse came from the mistaken belief that the umpire should not be warning players that they were about to break the new 6-6-6 rule.

"We're nine rounds in and the clubs were very clear (it would happen)," Hocking said.

"So anyone who doesn't know that, probably needs to revisit (it)."

Amid a succession of controversies, including Sydney co-captain Dane Rampe climbing a goal post two weekends ago, Hocking himself has been criticised for not making public comments.

"There's definitely an element to that, for sure, but I'm not sure why what (umpires boss) Hayden Kennedy or Gill (AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan) said wasn't enough," Hocking said.

"I'm very pleased with the outcomes."

Australian Associated Press