'What a disgrace': AFL world erupts over 'horrendous' farce

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·Sports Editor
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Joe Daniher, pictured here after being awarded a dubious free kick.
Joe Daniher was awarded a dubious free kick in the Brisbane Lions' win over Geelong. Image: Fox Footy

AFL fans were left seething on Thursday night when umpires dished out 37 free kicks during the first half of Brisbane's clash with Geelong.

Brisbane's gun forwards fired to deliver the Lions a massive 44-point win over Geelong at the Gabba.

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Joe Daniher kicked four goals for the Lions while Charlie Cameron booted three, including a third-quarter effort after a high-flying mark, as Brisbane moved to third on the ladder with the 13.16 (94) to 7.8 (50) win.

However it was the performance from the umpires that stole the headlines after the match.

A whopping 37 free kicks were awarded before half-time, marking the most in one half of AFL footy in 13 years.

The last time more free kicks were awarded in a single half was round 15 of 2008 - also a Geelong game.

Remarkably, the average number of free kicks for an entire match this season currently sits at 38.

“Stop blowing the whistle,” Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes wrote on Twitter.

Fans were left fuming, with many labelling the farcical scenes "ridiculous" and a "disgrace".

There was particular anger over a free kick awarded to Daniher when many believed he had staged.

“That’s not a free kick,” Matthew Richardson said in commentary.

“Joe knew he was in trouble with his positioning; I’ve done that as a forward, you know you’re in trouble so you don’t push back and he’s milked the free kick, simple as that.”

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Brisbane flex their muscles in big win over Geelong

The victory was Brisbane's sixth-straight at the Gabba and only their second win over the Cats since 2013, while defeat ends Geelong's six-game winning run.

"It was important for us to try and start to win against those other top four sides," Lions coach Chris Fagan said.

"We haven't been able to do that at all this season yet, so it's always better as you're going into the latter end of the year to record those sorts of victories if you can. So, yeah, pleasing."

It wasn't just Brisbane's frontline firing, with Daniel Rich, captain Dayne Zorko and Mitch Robinson among several influential players for the home team.

Eric Hipwood, pictured here celebrating a goal with teammate Joe Daniher.
Eric Hipwood celebrates a goal with teammate Joe Daniher. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale also played his part, despite an injury scare in the first quarter where he appeared to hurt a shoulder following a tackle by Jeremy Cameron but quickly returned to play out the game.

In contrast, Geelong's big three forwards - Cameron, Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan - had a tough night as they were smothered by Brisbane's defence.

All three failed to kick a goal until the fourth quarter when Hawkins and Rohan broke their ducks, with Isaac Smith and Zach Tuohy the only multiple goalkickers for the visitors.

Cats captain Joel Selwood (13 disposals) also had a quiet night by his lofty standards.

"It's a long time since we've been beaten that badly," Cats coach Chris Scott said, before adding the defeat wouldn't have him reaching for the panic button.

"You never come away thinking, 'Oh, well, that's fine'. We can't completely gloss over it but there's a big body of evidence that we've put together now.

"I'm not in the business of castigating players who have been really good for you for a long period of time, on the basis of one performance."

with AAP

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