Ray Chamberlain holds no ill-will after he was dropped from the upcoming preliminary final contests this weekend.
Known more commonly as “Razor Ray”, the divisive umpire ruffled more than a few feathers through the opening two weeks of finals action.
Watch the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series on Kayo with every game before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Chamberlain has shown throughout his career he doesn’t mind the spotlight, but his presence in games can at times overshadow the real stars of the game.
During the qualifying final between Port Adelaide and Geelong, Chamberlain became a trending topic on social media with fans unhappy with broadcaster Channel 7 for continually splicing his voice into the games.
But after being dropped from the remaining two preliminary finals games and the Grand Final, Chamberlain spoke about the decision and said he was expecting the call.
“Middle of the afternoon on the Monday is when the phone calls are made and that’s what they do right throughout the year,” he said on SEN’s Whateley.
“Some people get (omitted) on the Monday and (that’s) the same during finals time and that’s when you’re hoping the phone doesn’t ring.
“Any time you get to this point of the year – and I’ve been around long enough, I’ve umpired in the AFL for 16 years, I’ve been a part of 14 years of finals, so I’ve been here before – there isn’t an experience that I’m ignorant to around that.
“Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail. So you do prepare yourself because ultimately you’re not in control of decisions that have to be made.
“We’ve got six of our teammates that are left and then the following week there will only be three left. Last week there was still eight, so for me there was always that chance. You have to ready yourself for that.”
Chamberlain came under fire from fans, players and even one AFL coach over his lacklustre centre bouncing ability. But he doesn’t believe it was the major reason behind his season coming to an end.
“No, I don’t think directly,” he said.
“I think we have a tendency to catastrophise things – and I’m not just talking about umpiring or bouncing or a free kick here or there – I think just in general … We get to 11/10 on just about every issue you can think of.
“Career-wise, I probably go at around 85 per cent contestability with bouncing. It’s not my one-wood, but season 2020 I was 92 per cent, so above where I normally sit.”
He did admit to rushing through the process more than usual during the semi-final between Geelong and Collingwood after all the noise from the week prior.
“The first night was difficult because of the relaid turf (at Adelaide Oval) for me. That doesn’t suit my (technique). I’m not a prodigious bouncer of the football, so it puts me under the pump a little bit,” he said. “I got through and fought my way through that OK.
“There was a bit of noise around it. I was rushing it a little bit through on my delivery stride, so basically if I keep that nice and short … I plant my foot quicker. And when I plant my foot quicker, I bounce the ball dead straight. I did that four times in a row from the second quarter through to midway through the last quarter on Saturday night. I executed it really well, but on either side of that I had a couple of stinkers.
“If you look over 16 years, I’ll have three or four games in a season where I’ll have a rough night. It’s a close skill
“Ultimately, that’s all it is and I don’t think it’s much more than that, to be fair.”
PRELIMINARY FINAL GAMES
Friday, October 16
Port Adelaide vs Richmond — 7:50pm (AEDT), Adelaide Oval
Saturday, October 17
Brisbane Lions vs Geelong — 7:40pm (AEDT), Gabba