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AFL fans round on Channel 7 commentators as much-maligned rule causes more confusion

Matthew Richardson and Brian Taylor were in commentary during the Sydney Swans' win over Melbourne.

AFL fans weren't particularly impressed with Channel 7's commentary team for Thursday night's season-opener between Sydney and Melbourne. And the situation was particularly evident during a controversial moment in the third quarter.

Brian Taylor and James Brayshaw were in the box on Thursday night, with Matthew Richardson, Luke Hodge and Abbey Holmes providing special comments. Taylor, Brayshaw and Richardson have always divided opinion amongst fans, with many claiming the commentators show too much liking for Victorian clubs.

Taylor formerly played for Collingwood and Richmond, while Richardson is a Tigers legend and Brayshaw is associated with North Melbourne. With Melbourne taking on Sydney on Thursday night, fans once again took to social media to express similar complaints.

Matthew Richardson and Brian Taylor, pictured here in the AFL.
Matthew Richardson has been particularly critical of the AFL's advantage rule. Image: Channel 7/Getty

AFL's advantage rule causes controversy yet again

But the situation was turned on its head when the Demons kicked a goal to take the lead in the third quarter in circumstances that divided opinion. The Swans were pinged for holding the ball near the centre square, before the ball was kicked forward by the Demons before the whistle was blown.

Nearly every single player stopped and expected the umpire to call the play back, but advantage was called when Bayley Fritsch continued and snapped a goal. The advantage call looked bizarre because all the players had stopped, but the umpire got it right according to the letter of the law.

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The Channel 7 commentary team weren't happy that advantage had been paid, with Richardson a notable critic of the current rule and having his say once again. But popular Twitter account 'Has the umpire made A Bad decision?' pointed out that it was the correct call given the way it is written.

"Advanatge call was absolutely correct to allow that Fritsch goal," the accredited AFL umpire wrote. "Viney kicks it forward as it's paid and Fritsch never stops advancing towards it. Have to pay that. Typical poor commentary from channel 7 - nothing new there."

Brian Taylor and Matthew Richardson, pictured here on Channel 7.
Brian Taylor and Matthew Richardson. (Getty Images)

They also highlighted that the fault lies in the 'flawed' rule rather than the way it is umpired. "Extra note: Ump needs a reason NOT to pay adv (eg every player stopped)," they added. "Fritsch advancing to the ball (albeit in a canter) gives the ump no reason to deny Melb. As per GF, this is a rule that is flawed. But ump got it right and it's a shame the comms blamed him for a flawed rule."

Channel 7 commentary falls flat in AFL season opener

The advantage rule also reared its ugly head in the grand final last year when the Brisbane Lions were deemed to have taken their advantage in a crucial late moment. Trailing by four points, the Lions coughed up possession in prime position when the umpire called advantage unexpectedly, denying them a chance to steal victory at the death.

It wasn't the only time on Thursday night that the commentators were panned. Many pointed out how many times Taylor says 'squirts' in relation to the ball spilling out of a contest, while he also said in regards to the 40,000 in attendance: “That’s the biggest number they’ve had here for a while I reckon”. One person was quick to point out there were 41,753 at the SCG in round 24 last year for the previous clash between Sydney and Melbourne.

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