AFL fans and commentators are calling for change despite the league ticking off a controversial call that saw Melbourne denied what would have been a match-winning goal against Carlton on Saturday night. The Blues held on for a controversial 9.6 (60) to 8.8 (56) win, but Melbourne fans were left absolutely seething after a late shot at goal from Christian Petracca was called a behind when replays appeared to show there was no touch on the line.
The goal umpire initially ruled that Petracca's shot from outside 50 metres was touched on the line by Caleb Marchbank with 41 seconds left. The score review official then found insufficient evidence to overturn the on-field 'soft' call and it stayed as a behind.
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It meant the Demons went down by four points rather than winning by three. The AFL confirmed the call on Sunday afternoon, re-iterating the fact that there wasn't enough evidence to overturn.
Speaking after the game, Marchbank claimed he touched the ball “on the fingertips.” He added: “I was just hoping for anywhere ... I was just hoping enough it would go towards my favour.”
Carlton coach Michael Voss said: "I was sitting there just going, 'please don't overrule this, you can't lose this way'. Thankfully, the call went our way and we were obviously able to hold on.
"I've spoken to him (Marchbank), he says that he did touch it, but at this point in time, it doesn't really matter to me. We'll call it that it was touched and we'll take the four points and walk away."
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin played a straight bat and conceded: "The guy closest to where it all took place thought he touched it. Umpire's call ... that's the rules."
Matthew Lloyd wants changes to AFL score review technology
But the vast majority of fans weren't convinced and believed the Dees had been robbed of the winning goal. Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd was left fuming that the technology still isn't good enough to make a definitive call.
“The technology isn’t good enough. This may well cost Melbourne a home final,” he said on the Sunday Footy Show. “If this was a final or a grand final, this goal line technology and that’s the best that we’ve got?” Tony Jones added: “If that is the best we’ve got with technology then just get rid of it and go back to umpire’s call.”
If it was over turned they would be happy with the decision as well. They aren’t going to say anything different are they
— Eamon Johnson (@johno_35) August 13, 2023
— Ben Kingsley (@benkingsleyAU) August 12, 2023
Boggles my mind that in 2023 we still have really crappy slo-mo replays for score review @7afl
— Old Mate Engineer (@OldMateEngineer) August 12, 2023
I don’t support either team BUT, ARC HAS TO SCRAPPED!
That was a GOAL every day!@AFL is making itself look like a joke when a decision like that cost someone a game, possibly a Top 2 spot, possibly a Home Final.
Too much riding on a completely unreliable system!#AFLBluesDees
— Wotyagunnado (@DustynGooch) August 12, 2023
— Jason Gram (@gramsy_1) August 12, 2023
Those soft calls from goal umps are a disgrace. Basically guessing. Blues win by a gift from the AFL. I guess it's in their interest to have this mob in contention. #AFLBluesDees
— mattel (@Matt37901359) August 12, 2023
AFL rocked by umpiring controversies in frenetic finishes
The latest controversy comes after the AFL conceded umpires made a huge blunder in allowing one of Jeremy Cameron's goals against Collingwood on Friday night. Cameron was clearly standing out-of-bounds when he received a hand-ball from Brad Close, before running back into the field of play and slotting a goal.
The controversial win keeps Carlton in fifth spot with two rounds remaining and means the Demons slip to third place - replaced in the top two by Brisbane. The Blues are now almost certain to end a decade-long finals drought, having seemed out of contention at the halfway point of the season.
"We're winning in different ways and we've shown great adaptability across the year," Voss said. "We've had lots of questions asked of us but we're showing that resilience and grit, and we're able to put that into the way we're playing.
"You can see the boys have got some real hunger in and desire right now and they're really clear on what's needed. That was a fantastic performance and it felt almost like a finals-like game."
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