'Never been worse': AFL world erupts over 'baffling' farce

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Reilly O'Brien, pictured here in action during Adelaide's clash with St Kilda.
Reilly O'Brien handballs during Adelaide's clash with St Kilda. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

The umpiring left much to be desired as St Kilda poured more pain on Adelaide on Monday night, with many among the AFL world expressing their anger.

Adelaide plunged to club-record depths with a 23-point loss at Adelaide Oval.

The Crows have now lost seven games to open a season - their worst start since inception in 1991.

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However the talk of the AFL world wasn’t about the insipid Crows after the match.

Rather it was the standard of umpiring that had commentators and fans in disbelief.

Controversial calls against both sides littered the contest, with Fox Footy’s Jonathan Brown admitting the umpires “had a bad night”.

Adelaide's only goal in the first quarter came from a dubious shepherding free kick to ex-skipper Taylor Walker.

And a number of holding the ball calls were widely panned by pundits.

“It’s just a lottery,” St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt said in commentary.

“We watch a lot of footy and I have to admit, I have no idea which way some of these decisions will go.”

Sydney Swans great Jude Bolton was equally as perplexed.

“Baffled by some of the umpiring decisions,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Incredibly tough gig due to constant changing of rules & interpretations.

“In a situation now, where we need the AFL to unravel some of the changes brought in. Holding the ball needs an overhaul.”

And they weren’t alone, with many describing the umpiring performance as the worst they’d seen.

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Adelaide are now on the club's longest losing streak - 10 consecutive defeats, across two seasons.

“We are really disappointed,” Crows coach Matthew Nicks said.

“The outside noise is there ... Ultimately we are to win so I understand the frustration.”

The Saints got their season ahead of the curve - four wins and three losses - after repelling a late surge.

Dan Butler (three goals) and Max King (two goals) were attacking threats, while midfielders Jack Steele (26 disposals, 13 clearances) and Zak Jones (20 disposals, six clearances) were superb.

Adelaide Crows players, pictured here walking from the ground looking dejected.
Adelaide Crows players walk from the ground looking dejected. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Adelaide had few, if any, clear-cut winners - Reilly O'Brien (28 hitouts), acting captain Tom Dodee (10 marks) and Ben Keays (24 touches) battled gamely while Walker booted three goals and Shane McAdam kicked two.

St Kilda's Jones produced a powerhouse opening term to propel the visitors to a 3.2 to 1.2 quarter-time lead.

Jones' 10 first-term disposals featured five clearances - three from centre bounces - and three inside 50s, the last a lace-out pass to emerging spearhead King, who converted after the siren.

with AAP