Collingwood win AFL grand final as Brisbane 'robbed' in 'disgraceful' umpiring farce

The level of umpiring was widely condemned as the Magpies beat the Lions by four points at the MCG.

Collingwood, pictured here after beating Brisbane by four points in a controversial AFL grand final.
Collingwood beat Brisbane by four points in a controversial AFL grand final. Image: Getty

Collingwood have won their first AFL premiership since 2010 amid controversial scenes, with the standard of umpiring coming under heavy fire from fans and commentators. The Magpies prevailed 12.18 (90) to 13.8 (86) in a thrilling grand final at the MCG on Saturday, but it didn't come without massive controversy.

Fans and commentators were left crying foul over what was labelled a shocking call in the final seconds. Umpires gave Brisbane a free kick and paid advantage, despite the players not appearing to know they'd received the call. The Lions then turned the ball over in prime position and Collingwood managed to hold on for a four-point victory.

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Former Port Adelaide and Brisbane player Tom Rockliff wrote on social media: "How is that advantage? Disgraceful. Lions robbed." Matthew Richardson labelled the call "ridiculous" in commentary, while Luke Hodge was also highly critical.

“That wasn’t a good advantage that one,” Richardson said. “That is ridiculous. They didn’t know it was their free kick.”

Brisbane player, pictured here after their AFL grand final loss to Collingwood.
Brisbane players look on after their AFL grand final loss to Collingwood. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

ESPN reporter Kane Pittman wrote: “The worst advantage call of all time at the worst possible time. Horrific call”. Lachlan McKirdy of CODE Sports commented: “That advantage call was an absolute shocker. Collingwood deserved winners, but wow that was awful.

Nick Daicos was also the recipient of a number of questionable free kicks. The 20-year-old kicked the first goal of Saturday's decider, but it came about via a free kick that many thought shouldn't have been paid.

Daicos appeared to duck into a tackle and was collected high, with the umpires happily awarding the young gun the free kick. The goal sent the MCG into mayhem, as the mostly-Collingwood crowd erupted with delight.

However Brisbane and impartial fans were left fuming over a number of calls that went Collingwood's way, with Daicos on the receiving end a couple of times. Journalist Ronny Lerner wrote on social media: “The too-high rule reverting back to its old interpretation. Lucky for Nick Daicos hey."

Another fan commented: "That is pathetic Daicos. You are good enough to not resort to that. It’s not been paid all year but he’s had three."

A third wrote: “Nick Daicos is clearly a protected species. Has anyone ever gotten more free kicks in a grand final? I bet he sets a record today."

Collingwood went to the half-time break with a six-point lead after a number of lead changes in the first two quarters. Despite the incredible level of play, the umpires were the talk of social media.

Fans lost their minds when Collingwood were awarded a free kick despite Brayden Maynard appearing to hit Brandon Starcevich high. Luckily for the Lions his set shot only produced a behind.

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Collingwood's win gives them a record-equalling 16th premiership. Bobby Hill kicked a career-best four goals in front of 100,024 fans at the MCG. Scott Pendlebury also starred and Jordan De Goey kicked the go-ahead goal with five minutes to play, before Collingwood hung on in the desperate final stages after losing key defender Nathan Murphy to concussion before half-time.

Daicos won his first premiership after he was a controversial loser of Monday night's Brownlow Medal, with Brisbane co-captain Lachie Neale walking away with his second medal. Many believed Daicos and Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli were more deserving.

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Neale showed his class on Tuesday as he declared Daicos definitely would have won if not for his late-season injury that saw him miss the final three games of the regular season. “I want to give a shout out to Nick Daicos,” Neale said. “He‘s had such an amazing season so far and it hasn’t finished for him yet either.

“If it wasn’t for his injury, I think the medal would have been his and he would have been a thoroughly deserving winner. I feel for Nick. He’s had so much pressure and intensity and scrutiny on him this year. The way that he‘s performed this year has been amazing to watch.”

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