'Horrendous': AFL fans fume after 'disgraceful' call rocks match

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Lions' Zac Bailey tackles Mark Blivacs (pictured left) and Lions players arguing after the incident (pictured right).
Lions' Zac Bailey tackles Mark Blivacs (pictured left) with many fans fuming claiming a free kick wasn't awarded for holding the ball and Lions players arguing after the incident (pictured right). (Images: Channel 7/Getty Images)

Brisbane Lions fans were left absolutely fuming after a last-minute umpiring call could have cost them the match after a one-point loss to Geelong.

The match between Geelong and the Lions got off to a chaotic start after Brisbane's players and staff face an uncertain wait on whether they can return home for the Easter long weekend the Victorian Government announced Brisbane and Morton Bay as Covid-19 hotspots.

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But the clash itself finished in drama after fans claimed the Lions were robbed of a match-winning opportunity when Mark Blivacs was accused of holding the ball.

With just seconds left, Blivacs tried to turn in the tackle from Zach Bailey after Joe Daniher launched the ball into the goal-square.

But Blivacs failed to get a disposal away, however a free-kick was not awarded.

The ball was rushed for a behind after it became loose, all but ending the Lions' hopes of snatching a win.

Fans claimed the incident was a blatant case of holding the ball, but the umpire appeared to miss the incident.

AFL great Jonathan Brown was critical of the incident after the game.

“That was an absolute howler by the umpire,” Fox Footy's Brown said after the game.

“How did he miss that.

“You can’t make an argument the umpire was in the wrong spot. He was in a perfect spot.”

St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt was equally critical.

“It’s a free kick, plain and simple," he said.

Gary Lyon added: "The tackle was perfect."

Fans fume over umpire 'howler' in Lions clash

Fans were left equally baffled to how the umpire missed such a crucial incident, which would have handed the Lions a chance to win the match.

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Covid-19 drama before Geelong and Lions clash 

The game at GMHBA stadium was thrown into chaos just an hour before the bounce after Victoria's health department declared Brisbane and Moreton Bay COVID-19 hot spots and says anyone who has been in those areas since March 12 must self-isolate and be tested for coronavirus.

"Extraordinary drama tonight, as Covid raises its ugly head," the Herald Sun's Jon Ralph said just before the bounce.

“As we speak, fans are being told that they must leave the ground if they have come in from Queensland. The loudspeakers are pushing that message."

A health warning is put up on the big screen during the round 2 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium on March 26, 2021 in Geelong, Australia.
A health warning is put up on the big screen during the round 2 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium on March 26, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The Lions were granted an exemption to travel to Geelong for the clash because they were following AFL protocols.

This was confirmed by the AFL at half-time.

“The AFL confirms the Brisbane Lions players, coaches and officials obtained an exemption from the Victorian Government from orange zone permit requirements as players, coaches and officials have all been living and abiding by approved AFL protocols,” the league tweeted at halftime.

“We encourage everyone in the community to follow advice of the Govt-anyone who has entered Victoria from the City of Brisbane & Moreton Bay Region since Mar 12 must immediately self-isolate, get a coronavirus test within 72hrs & stay isolated until they receive a negative result.”

Lions coach Chris Fagan said the team were in limbo on whether they could travel home after the match.

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