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AFL umpire Ray Chamberlain has been heavily criticised by footy fans for what was considered an unnecessary display of theatrics on Friday night.
In the crucial game between the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide, which had implications for finals and the top four, Chamberlain found himself in the spotlight after awarding the Power a free kick in the second quarter.
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Bulldogs midfielder Roarke Smith gave the veteran umpire a piece of his mind after being denied a free kick for holding the ball - but 'Razor' Ray wasn't going to cop it.
Instead, it would be Smith who stood the mark as Port Adelaide took a free kick, the Dogs star deemed to have abused Chamberlain.
It was the explanation behind the free kick though, that had many feeling as though Chamberlain had crossed a line.
Razor gave away a free for abuse.
"Do not talk to me like that." pic.twitter.com/H672x8zOyg
— 7AFL (@7AFL) August 20, 2021
“Free kick here, Port Adelaide — abuse,” Chamberlain said after Smith's outburst.
“No prior opportunity, legally tackled, attempted to handball — play on.
“Do not speak to me like that.”
Commentators were slightly taken aback by Chamberlain's attitude, with Channel 7's Brian Taylor amusingly suggesting the umpire might have been enjoying the absence of fans at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium,
“That is Roarke Smith getting a real dressing down from Ray, who I think is liking the fact that there’s not a lot of noise here tonight,” Taylor said.
“You’ve gotta love it. It was clear, concise and it was correct, most importantly.”
Co-commentator and former player Matthew Richardson joked it sounded as though Smith was being sent to detention by the umpire - although not every fan saw the funny side.
Some felt Chamberlain needed to show the players a little more respect as part of the give and take between players and officials.
I’m not condoning any sort of abuse or disrespect for any umpire. That’s unacceptable. But Ray assists in creating an unnecessary atmosphere by talking down to players in a tense environment. You can work with the players and still have complete control. Respect goes both ways. https://t.co/WLLKKANfN7
— Adam White (@White_Adam) August 20, 2021
He has tried to be a celeb. He isn't a player. Pretty simple
— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) August 20, 2021
Spot on mate.
— Lindsay Gilbee (@LindsayGilbee) August 20, 2021
Razor Ray needs to calm down. Just pay the free kick, explain the decision, in this case 'Abuse' and move on. Players don't need parenting on the field. You could tell by his tone, Razor sounded like he took it too personally. Thanks dad 🙄
— ambro96 (@ambro96) August 20, 2021
Western Bulldogs top four fate looms after crucial Port Adelaide loss
After appearing on track for the minor premiership just a month ago, Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is resigned to his side finishing fifth after losing three straight games to end the home-and-away season.
The Bulldogs look set for an elimination final next weekend after falling to Port Adelaide 9.12 (66)-10.4 (64) in a two-point thriller on Friday night.
If Brisbane defeat an undermanned West Coast, as expected, on Saturday and make up 0.1 per cent, then the Lions will leapfrog the Bulldogs into fourth and claim the double chance in finals.
It is difficult to comprehend for the Bulldogs, who have not dropped lower than fourth since round two.
"We're anticipating we're going to finish fifth and I just spoke to the boys about how we're all in their corner," Beveridge said.
"We'll walk out of the room and be absolutely flat about the defeat but all we can do is believe we can stay the course and win as many games as we can from here on in."
The Bulldogs opted to use Lewis Young in the ruck against Port and he was smashed by premiership big man Scott Lycett.
Beveridge decided to use Tim English mainly up forward, with captain Marcus Bontempelli even having more hit-outs than the 24-year-old.
Veteran ruckman Stefan Martin would be the ideal inclusion for a final but the former Brisbane tall has been sidelined through injury since round 12.
Martin will play in a scratch match on Saturday and the Bulldogs will decide from that if the 34-year-old is ready for a potentially cut-throat final.
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