Further to your valid comment Jezz, why do people expect umpires to get 100% of their decisions and non decisions right.
They will make mistakes - it is one of life’s certainty. The game is a chaotic mix of 360 degree action. At ground level umpires are obscured by player movement while trying to make split second decisions. The game is faster than ever as is the fatigue that this causes for umps. Back in the days of single umpires the play was slower and spread across the ground making it easier to see infringements and the umps barely moved away from the central third of the ground (and they made lots of mistakes back then as well).
Human nature means that we will notice decisions that go against us while accepting (ignoring) those that go in our favour. I prefer to go to the footy and concentrate on other aspects of the game. Sure, I notice some howlers and might pass a comment or three but I’m not going to be fixated on umpiring decisions after every game we play.
Maybe a little less umpire abuse will also encourage more kids to take it on. The more that we see it as a respected role the bigger the pool of talent to choose higher quality umps in the future. Drive the numbers down and you will be left with little or no choice.
The game becomes a lot easier to umpire if you pay the obvious free kick, the first time it occurs , and then keep paying it all game.
Once that is in place we (as in umpires) can go onto worry about the finer interpretations.
The push for consistency has created more problems than it fixed, because they have tried to remove any subjectivity from the decision making process. The rules were loosely written because it's a game, and one where things move fast and unpredictably.
Every decision should be weighted with whether or not it had an impact on play, not whether the other umpire paid something to the other team at some earlier point in the game, or in 5 weeks earlier in a different match.
If umpires see that a team, let's call them Hawthorn, are doing something that appears to be a tactic rather than a couple of misguided players, they should have the autonomy to react to that, not be bound by an edict to be consistent.