Pop quiz: do you think there are more or less free kicks being paid today than in 1970?
Surprisingly - for some, perhaps - umpire influence on games has plummeted in the last 50 years to the point where almost half the free kicks are being paid these days than in previous decades.
Here is a breakdown of how many free kicks were paid per game in 5 year intervals (including 2017):
Average Free Kicks Per Game
In the year 1970; when there were 12 clubs in the VFL, single teams would earn in the vicinity of 40 free kicks per match.
By today's standard - where 18 clubs are now involved - that number is now closer to 20.
Fans have been vocally annoyed by the standard of umpiring of late, with rule changes making the game somewhat confusing to follow at times - but there are nowhere near as many frees as previous eras.