With a new AFL season comes one certainty - a fresh controversy involving the league's frequently maligned score review system. It only took until Saturday afternoon's clash between Port Adelaide and Brisbane, four games into the season, for fans to be up in arms about the system.
The Power encountered few difficulties in their big win over the Lions, though they were fortunate to benefit from a clear mistake made when a review was called for Lachie Jones' goal in the third quarter. Power midfielder Dan Houston's long bomb inside 50 got out the back, but Jones' hurried attempt to get boot to ball was tough to call in the moment.
'POOR LOSER': Chris Scott comments divide AFL fans after Geelong loss
The goal umpire signalled the decision on the field was a goal before it was sent to be reviewed. Replays couldn't definitively show whether Brisbane defender Harris Andrews had managed to touch the ball across the line, with the on-field goal umpire's original call standing.
However moments after the decision was made, an additional TV angle was shown on the broadcast showing the ball had quite clearly come off Harris' leg before crossing the line. “That comes down to the umpires call, pure and simple,” former AFL player Garry Lyon observed on commentary for Fox Footy.
Needless to say, fans watching at home were apoplectic at the decision. Many were baffled as to how the score review either didn't show or didn't have access to every angle before the decision was confirmed.
The decision had little bearing on Port Adelaide's round one win though, with boom recruit Jason Horne-Francis excelling in his first game since being traded from North Melbourne. The 2021 No.1 draft pick finished with 25 disposals featuring 10 inside 50s, 11 score involvements, seven clearances and a goal.
What’s the point of the review system in the AFL? That ball was behind the Port player’s leg but apparently there was insufficient evidence? #AFLPortLions
— Eden Richards (@Eden_Richards) March 18, 2023
That simply can not be a goal?
— Rudi Edsall (@RudiEdsall) March 18, 2023
Um…didn’t that so incredibly obviously hit the Brisbane player?? It’s just so obvious to see.
— John Carr (@TheHolyBoot) March 18, 2023
— Robert Mescher (@MescherRobert) March 18, 2023
AFL: After confusion on the goal line from Port Adelaide's Lachie Jones and Brisbane Roar's Harris Andrews, the decision went to review. Though it seems the decision did not take in to consideration multiple angles.
— Boy Oh Boy Wowee (@EpicDonation) March 18, 2023
Port Adelaide hand Brisbane Lions a round one AFL reality check
Ex-West Coast Eagle Rioli was an ever-present attacking threat alongside Todd Marshall (four goals, eight marks) and Charlie Dixon (3.3, 10 marks). The lacklustre Lions were lucky to lose by only 54 points, according to their bewildered coach Chris Fagan.
"For some reason or another the effort wasn't there ... all the things that we pride ourselves on were non-evident," he said. "You have got keep cool heads sometimes when you lose a game of football like that, analyse properly what happened.
"There's the game statistics that tell you what happened but there's also what is going on in people's minds. Were we as ready as we should have been ... responsibility for that sits on my shoulders as much as it sits on the players so I will have a review of myself first."
Brisbane led by 18 points in a second stanza punctuated by a blow-up from Port's Charlie Dixon. An abusive Dixon gave away consecutive 50m penalties, leading to a Daniel Rich goal - the first of six majors for Brisbane in the quarter.
But Horne-Francis then stole the spotlight, assisted in midfield by Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines (29 disposals) and Zak Butters (24 touches). Power backmen Ryan Burton (24), Darcy Byrne-Jones (27) and Aliir Aliir (seven marks) nullified Brisbane's forwards with ex-Hawk Jack Gunston and Zac Bailey scoring two goals apiece.
Brisbane's hyped debutant Will Ashcroft, last year's top draft pick, snapped a classy goal among his 13 touches and former Western Bulldog Josh Dunkley was solid with 19 touches.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.