Umpiring consistently seems to be a point of contention.
Especially this year when rules have been changed on the fly. (Does anyone actually understand holding the ball anymore?).
Some supporters swear that the umps are against them while some are lucky enough to see things fall the way of their beloved club.
Casting opinion aside, which teams are getting looked after the most and who are infringing more often than the others after 12 rounds?
We’ve delved into the numbers to give you all the data you need for that heated discussion with your mates who support rival clubs.
Below are a bunch of ladders – free kicks for, free kicks against and overall differential – plus the individuals on both sides of the free kick ledger.
Note: 10 clubs have played 12 games while eight have played 11 so averages are very important when assessing these numbers.
The Free Kicks For Ladder
North Melbourne remains on top of this ladder, as was the case when we last undertook this exercise following Round 4. They are the only side to be averaging in excess of 20 free kicks for per game.
Adelaide has also been receiving plenty of love from the umpires to sit in second position ahead of Collingwood who is again near the top of the free kick standings.
Brisbane, who sat 10th on this list two months ago, has moved up to fourth with GWS up from 12th to fifth.
West Coast, Hawthorn, Essendon and Geelong all appear to be on the nose with the umps. The fact the Eagles are bottom proves that the ‘noise of affirmation’ has not been a telling factor in 2020.
|Club||Frees For||FF Avg.|
The Free Kicks Against Ladder
Geelong gives away more free kicks than any other team in the league, narrowly ahead of Richmond who has interestingly been tagged as ‘unsociable’ in recent times.
The Crows receive plenty of frees for but also have it go against them while the Hawks are constantly giving frees away. The Suns are also in the top five for illegal acts on the footy field.
At the other end of the scale, Fremantle draws the ire of the match officials the least amount of times just ahead of WA rivals the Eagles who, just remember, have received the fewest frees to go along with their second least frees against.
|Club||Frees Against||FA Avg.|
The Free Kick Differential Ladder
Now we get onto the most important part of it.
The free kick differential ladder.
The Kangaroos are well ahead of the ledger with almost +60 free kicks in their favour with the Magpies sitting second on +44.
Actual ladder leaders Port Adelaide sits up the pointy end with a nice return of +34 with Fremantle at +29 the only club with a positive of more than 15.
The Hawks are at the foot of the standings with the Cats, Tigers, Bombers and Suns all frequently losing the free kick count.
|Club||Frees For||Frees Against||Differential|
Individuals Frees For
Which players get the most love from the umpires?
It’s not too much of a surprise to see Brodie Grundy and Todd Goldstein sitting on top with most of their infringements taking place in ruck contests.
A bunch of midfielders led by Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps as well as another ruckman in Melbourne skipper Max Gawn are prominent in the top 10.
Of this list, Cripps has given away the most (21) ahead of Grundy (19), Patrick Dangerfield and Jacob Hopper (both 16).
Individuals Frees Against
And who infringes more than anyone else?
West Coast’s Elliot Yeo has there worst record with 25 frees against (and only five for), ahead of Cripps and Hawthorn’s Jaeger O’Meara.
Inexperienced ruckmen Sean Darcy and Ivan Soldo are yet to fully work out their craft but they shouldn’t feel too bad as Grundy is alongside them.
Essendon forward Shaun McKernan has given away 18 frees and only received four in return.
All stats courtesy of AFL.com.au