'Killed the game': AFL fans rage over 'ridiculous' finals farce

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·Sports Editor
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Cody Weightman, pictured here in action for the Bulldogs against Essendon.
Cody Weightman kicked four goals from four free kicks. Image: Getty

The quality of AFL umpiring was once again a hot talking point in the Western Bulldogs' elimination final victory over Essendon on Sunday.

Port Adelaide fans were left seething at the officials in their side's win over Geelong on Friday night.

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And fans were once again up in arms during the Bulldogs-Bombers clash on Sunday.

Cody Weightman starred in the rain as the Bulldogs inflicted more finals pain on Essendon with a runaway 49-point victory.

The small forward kicked four goals, all from free kicks, at University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston.

The 13.7 (85) to 4.12 (36) result was the Bulldogs' first finals win since breaking their 62-year premiership drought five years ago and sets up a semi-final at the Gabba against Brisbane on Saturday.

"He was brilliant in the air and on the ground. He's come on in leaps and bounds this year," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said of Weightman.

"I'm wrapt to see what he did in such a big game."

While fans were also impressed with Weightman's display, some were fuming over the manner in which he was awarded the free kicks.

Three of his four goals came from contentious calls, with Eddie McGuire declaring the fourth “was not a free kick”.

“This is extraordinary. This could be his fourth. In a really tight game," fellow commentator James Brayshaw said.

“In a tight final in the wet, how is that a free kick? What is that for?”

Fans and commentators also expressed their dismay on social media.

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Western Bulldogs extend Essendon's finals misery

The Bombers, who started the stronger of the two sides but couldn't convert their chances, haven't tasted finals success since 2004 and have now lost six-straight elimination games.

The Bulldogs were ahead 34-31 at the main break before flying home courtesy of an eight-goals-to-none second half.

The last club to go goal-less in the second half of a finals match was Geelong in 1956.

Weightman nailed two goals in the crucial third term, one from a tight angle after a free kick for a seemingly innocuous push, while Josh Schache justified his late inclusion with his second.

Schache, who was promoted from the emergencies moments before the first bounce, also set up an important goal to give his side a four-goal break early in the last quarter.

Cody Weightman, pictured here after kicking a goal in the Western Bulldogs' win over Essendon.
Cody Weightman celebrates with Adam Treloar after kicking a goal in the Western Bulldogs' win over Essendon. (Photo by Steve Bell/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Aaron Naughton finished with three goals and Mitch Hannan two in what ended up a convincing victory.

"Our second half was enormous. We haven't won a final for a little while and everyone felt the pressure. To come through that, is a great experience for us all," Beveridge said.

Essendon's Darcy Parish was one of the best on ground in the first half and finished with a team-high 35 possessions for the match.

Teammate Jake Stringer had his moments, snapping the first goal of the contest and an important major to keep the Bombers in touch just before the main break.

"Our work through the first half was pretty good. I thought we created enough opportunities. We weren't able to convert," Essendon coach Ben Rutten said.

"The second half, the Bulldogs played the conditions a fraction better. It suited their personality a bit more than us."

with AAP

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