AFL world erupts over umpiring 'disgrace': 'That's not right'

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·Sports Reporter
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AFL fans and commentators were stunned after Collingwood's Darcy Moore was penalised by the umpire on this play against Hawthorn last weekend. Picturs: Getty Images/Fox Footy
AFL fans and commentators were stunned after Collingwood's Darcy Moore was penalised by the umpire on this play against Hawthorn last weekend. Picturs: Getty Images/Fox Footy

The umpires in Collingwood's thrilling victory over Hawthorn last weeknd have found themselves at the centre of controversy after what fans considered to be a blatant error at a crucial moment in the final quarter.

The Magpies won a nail-biter by four points thanks to a late goal from teenager Oliver Brown, a sigh of relief for fans after Hawthorn mounted a spirited fourth quarter comeback.

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Four unanswered goals to start the quarter got the Hawks right back in it, and a fifth came under massively controversial circumstances as Magpies defender Darcy Moore attempted to rush a behind.

As Moore dived to tap the ball across the line, Hawthorn's Sam Butler made a similar lunge - but as the ball tumbled over the line, a whistle for a free kick came from the 50 metre line.

Depsite one umpire being just metres from the play, the secondary umpire penalised Moore for contact below the legs - allowing Butler and the Hawks the ultimate freebie to take their first lead of the game.

Fans and commentators were bemused by the call, with Fox Footy duo Garry Lyon and Nick Riewoldt flabbergasted.

“There was an umpire within two or three metres of that who didn‘t pay it, there was an umpire who was at the 50 metre mark who did,” Lyon pointed out.

Riewoldt was baffled as to how an umpire so far away from the contest could penalise a player for taking out the legs of someone behind them.

“Moore gets there first. That‘s not the right decision," he said.

“He doesn‘t take his legs out; Butler falls on Darcy Moore.”

Fans took to Twitter in absolute confusion in the moments afterwards, with many considering the free kick to be an egregious error.

Collingwood triumph underscored by umpiring controversy

The free kick against Moore wasn't the only complaint Magpies fans had against the umpires last weekend, after young gun Jack Ginnivan was accused of ‘milking’ free kicks by former All-Australian Leigh Montagna.

Ginnivan was awarded two free kicks during the first quarter of the Magpies’ 72-68 win over Hawthorn on Sunday, with both decisions leading directly to Collingwood goals.

However, Ginnivan’s claims that he was the victim of more high tackles after the break fell on deaf ears, leading to speculation on social media that officials were becoming increasingly suspicious of his role in the drawing illegal contact.

Speaking to media post match, Collingwood head coach Craig McRae defended Ginnivan’s play, suggesting he was now being unfairly targeted by umpires.

Collingwood want a 'please explain' from the AFL over several high tackles on Jack Ginnivan they believe didn't earn the whistle from the umpire. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Collingwood want a 'please explain' from the AFL over several high tackles on Jack Ginnivan they believe didn't earn the whistle from the umpire. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

“Maybe I need to get some clarity because as far as I’m aware that is a free kick,” McRae said of one particular tackle on Ginnivan by Hawthorn’s Changkuoth Jiath that went unpenalised.

“But thinking you can’t get paid a free kick because we don’t like it that you’re getting free kicks, I’m not sure that’s the case. I’ll just get some clarity around that.

“Playing for free kicks is an interesting way of putting it. I think players are really good at avoiding tackles, and learning how to evade tackles and make it be hard to tackled.

“We tell our players to spend time over the ball, which means you’re likely to get front-on contact, but we want to keep the ball in front of us.

“Being tackled versus getting tackled, we practise that. I think it’s a skill, and it forces the tackler to really be on his best game. Is there a rule? There’s no rule against it at the minute.”

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