'Absolute joke': AFL world explodes over 'disgraceful' controversy

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Umpires, pictured here calling a throw in rather than deliberate out-of-bounds.
Umpires called a throw in rather than deliberate out-of-bounds. Image: Fox Footy

Controversy has once again erupted in the AFL over a contentious umpiring decision in the final seconds of Adelaide's one-point victory over Melbourne.

The Crows kicked three goals in the final seven minutes for an incredible 15.8 (96) to 14.11 (95) triumph at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

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Taylor Walker's last-minute goal delivered the one-point victory for last year's wooden spooners in the upset of the AFL season.

The unfancied Crows ended ladder-leader Melbourne's unbeaten season start, with Walker coolly slotting the match-winner, a 40 metre set-shot, with 47 seconds remaining.

However the result was marred by a controversial umpiring call that denied the Demons a chance to win (or at least draw) the game at the death.

After Walker's goal, the Demons went on the attack and Adelaide's five-gamer Nick Murray hand-balled towards the boundary line deep in defence.

The hand-ball went perilously close to being a point - and was also perilously close to being deemed deliberate out-of-bounds - which would have given Melbourne a shot at goal.

However the umpire simply called for a throw in and the Crows held on.

“To me it was deliberate. Completely deliberate. And it should have been called that by the umps,” Bulldogs champion Brad Johnson said in commentary for Fox Footy.

Fellow commentator Jason Dunstall said: “That has to be deliberate doesn’t it? It’s a 10m handball over the boundary line."

The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph tweeted: “You have never seen a more deliberate out of bounds call in your life”.

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While former AFL umpire Matt Head wrote: “In umpiring terms, that’s a CLANGER.”

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin refused to be drawn into the controversy.

"It (deliberate out-of-bounds) is still one of those areas that we are still finding our way as a game," he said in the post-match press conference.

Crows counterpart Nicks admitted a heart-in-mouth moment waiting for the umpire's call.

"My thought was 'I hope his teammate was close enough'," Nicks said.

"I believe there was someone nearby ... it's one of those hard ones, isn't it, to make a call on."

Fans were absolutely seething on social media.

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Matthew Nicks hails Crows' gutsy victory

The flashpoint was a dramatic finish to what Nicks described as a "great win" which broke the Crows' six-game losing stretch.

"Today was a really complete game for us," he said.

"I know we lost too many games in a row, but behind closed doors, the belief is there."

And he said his young group's belief would only grow after being 16 points down with nine minutes remaining after Melbourne's Clayton Oliver snapped his third goal.

Taylor Walker, pictured here after the Crows' win over Melbourne.
Taylor Walker celebrates after the Crows' win over Melbourne. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Oliver produced one of the all-time great individual displays: 38 disposals - 27 of them contested - 13 clearances, nine tackles, eight inside 50s and a trio of goals.

But Adelaide ultimately silenced the Demons' big guns with Walker booting three goals and midfielders Ben Keays, Rory Laird and Paul Seedsman instrumental.

Keays (two goals), Laird and Seedsman collected 34 disposals each while backman Brodie Smith (22 possessions, six inside 50s) was also influential.

with AAP

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