Saturday, June 15, 2024

A sloppy weekend at AFL House – one that needs a review of its own

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The mayhem in the umpires trying to work out if Tom Green’s bump warranted a down-the-field or not down-the-field free kick in Tasmania was remarkable.

It was like the three stooges about who is on first base. Of course, the awarding of the free kick to the wrong man was laughable.

The ugly was the justification of awarding the free kick to the wrong man. That was nonsense and why the cover-up is beyond me.

Sloppy approach. Sloppy outcome. It was always closest man, it is always closest man and if there wasn’t a mix-up before it, I’m sure the closest man, which was Mabior Chol by a good five metres, would have been given the free kick.

Speaking of justification, the whole justification of the Elliot Yeo decision after having 24 hours to consider what it means to the game by both AFL umpires boss Steve McBurney and I assume executive manager of football Laura Kane and her department, was by far the low pint of the weekend.

A rule McBurney used to justify it actually doesn’t exist because that particular rule says: “A field Umpire shall award a Free Kick against a Player who dives on top of or drags the football underneath their body and fails to immediately knock clear or Correctly Dispose of the football when Legally Tackled.”

U-N-D-E-R-N-E-A-T-H is what the rule says. It does not say drag in, as has been spruiked by commentators and umpires alike.

Think Sam Draper. That’s what this rule was established to rule out. Not a bloke picking up the ball.

So Steve, Laura, a sloppy weekend that needs a review.

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