'Explain the new rule': Eddie Betts bewildered after '90m penalty'

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter
Eddie Betts (pictured left) being tackled questioned why he was penalised in the final stages of the clash between Essendon and Carlton. (Getty Images/Fox Sports)

Carlton star Eddie Betts was left stunned at a ‘new rule’, despite the Blues edging Essendon in a thriller on Saturday night.

Essendon came within centimetres of emerging of a stunning AFL victory after a week of turmoil regarding Conor McKenna’s coronavirus scandal.

'WASTING YOUR RBEATH’: Taylor's testy answer for journo

STAND UP: AFL great’s legal action over Sam Newman comments

Jacob Townsend's long-range set shot in the dying seconds against Carlton at the MCG on Saturday night was bundled over the line for a rushed behind, handing the Bombers a gut-wrenching 7.10 (52) to 8.3 (51) loss.

But the circumstances that led to the shot left Betts gobsmacked.

With just a few moments left, Essendon’s Adam Saad appeared to play on from the goal square after a David Cuningham behind.

Betts moved towards Saad to pressure him, but was knocked to the ground.

But Betts was penalised with the umpire paying Essendon a 50m penalty.

Saad took the penalty and reached Townsend, which offered Essendon a chance to win the match.

When Tigers great Matthew Richardson interviewed Betts after the game, the Carlton ace admitted he was confused.

“Richo, you tell me. I got blocked twice before I even got there. I got hit twice,” he said on Channel 7.

Richardson said he thought Betts was in his right to pressure Saad and Betts said the umpire claimed there was a new rule in place.

“He (the umpire) said ‘it’s a new rule’ – I’ve never heard of this new rule,” Betts added.

Betts also lamented Saad taking the penalty well upfield.

“He gave a 90m penalty, it wasn’t 50!” Betts said.

“He took him to the centre of square. It was like ‘how far are they running’?”

Fans on social media also questioned the rules.

Blues edge Essendon in thriller

Essendon had led by 12 points in the final term in their first game in 13 days after last week's round-three clash against Melbourne was sensationally postponed following McKenna's positive test.

To rub salt in the wound, Zach Merrett will come in for match review scrutiny after he whacked Jack Silvagni in the back with a clenched fist that sent the Blues forward to hospital.

It was a frustrating end to an unsettling week for the club.

Blues players celebrate after winning the round 4 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Carlton Blues at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 27, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

John Worsfold said that it was difficult to determine what effect an isolation period that kept his players from the club until Wednesday had had.

"I'm no expert, I don't know how you would possibly measure it, but obviously it's not ideal to have your players locked away at home from Saturday afternoon through to Tuesday afternoon," Worsfold said.

"I thought overall their attitude to come out of that and support Conor and James (Stewart) and still try to focus on preparing for the game was really good.

"I don't know how that affects you overall in terms of how they felt running around out there.

"Did they physically feel on top of the game or did they feel not quite right, physically and mentally?

"I don't know.

"We showed plenty of fight, there's no doubt, in terms of giving ourselves a chance to win the game against a team that's not too dissimilar to us in terms of where they're at."

Dylan Shiel kicks the ball under pressure from Marc Murphy during the round 4 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Carlton Blues. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Club officials and teammates have been in regular contact with McKenna and Stewart, who was deemed to be the only close contact of the Irishman's also required to self-isolate for two weeks.

"They go through periods where they get a bit ... I'm not sure what the word is, but it's hard work being locked in a room for this amount of time," Worsfold said.

"But they've been generally pretty good.

"Maybe because it was game day they were feeling the pinch a bit more.

"But it's on the home stretch now for them."

Merrett swung his left arm at Silvagni's back as he kicked the ball early in the first quarter.

Grimacing in pain, Silvagni immediately went to the bench for assessment and a club official confirmed he had been taken to hospital by ambulance shortly before halftime.

With AAP