Wayne Carey lashes out as Joel Selwood's commentary divides opinion in AFL thriller

The umpiring and commentary were big talking points during Richmond's clash with Carlton.

As Richmond battled Carlton in the AFL on Thursday night, two things were a hot topic of discussion on social media - the umpiring and commentary. As is becoming all too common in the AFL world, the callers and officials copped plenty of backlash as the Blues pipped the Tigers by just five points.

Carlton hung on grimly to win 12.14 (86) to 12.9 (81) in front of 83,881 fans at the MCG, securing their sixth win on the bounce by less than a goal. Their last six wins dating back to round 22 last season have come for a combined margin of just 22 points.

But the thrilling nature of the contest was largely overshadowed by complaints about the umpiring. Both sides could argue they were dudded by some costly calls, and Wayne Carey was among the numerous people to take to social media to bemoan the officials. “Everyone wants Blues to win including umpires," the former Channel 7 commentator wrote.

Wayne Carey and Joel Selwood look on during AFL games.
Wayne Carey was critical of the umpiring, while Joel Selwood's commentary continues to divide AFL fans. Image: Getty

Umpiring causes controversy in Richmond-Carlton clash

Tom Lynch was awarded a couple of contentious free kicks early, while the umpires seemed to put the whistle away as the Tigers scrambled for a late goal in the final seconds. There was also confusion about a 50m penalty awarded to Tom De Koning that looked a lot more than 50 metres.

Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas wrote on social media: “Completely incompetent with zero understanding of the game. Firstly accidental, secondly 60 metre penalty. 22/13 free kicks working in Blues favour.” He wrote earlier: “How an umpire can be seduced into that call dumbfounds me. Game defining decisions. Absolutely disgraceful decision.”


Matthew Richardson said about one of the free kicks awarded to Lynch: “It’s just not there. It’s a mistake.” Brian Taylor added: “What a beautiful, soft return it’s turned out for him. Two free kicks, and potentially two goals.”

Well-known account 'Has the umpire made A Bad decision?' commented: "I think tonight breaks the record for number of tweets I've got saying the umps are against a certain side. Probably a 50/50 split between Blues and Tigers fans saying it. On first watch did seem to plenty of errors. Both ways."

Joel Selwood cops backlash from AFL fans over commentary

One commentator who wasn't as scathing was Joel Selwood, who has moved into the box after retiring at the end of the 2022 season. But the former Geelong Cats captain found himself on the receiving end of backlash from fans, with his commentary falling flat according to many.

"Is it just me or is Joel Selwood a bloody terrible commentator and adds absolutely SFA to the call," one viewer asked. Another person posted: "Joel Selwood already got the expert commentary gig down pat by having absolutely no firm opinions and certainly no observations that would be critical of a footballer."

Joel Selwood, pictured here in commentary for Channel 7 during the Richmond and Carlton clash.
Joel Selwood in commentary for Channel 7 during the Richmond and Carlton clash. (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

A third added: "When will Channel 7 realise playing football and commentating football are two completely different skill sets. I love Joel Selwood, but he doesn’t have a voice for commentary."

However others were full of praise for the Geelong champion, who is the latest former player trying to make it as a commentator. One person wrote: “It’s only round 1 and Joel Selwood is my favourite commentator”. Another added: "Anyone who knows me, knows I was not a big Joel Selwood fan (understatement)...Was boring as batsh*t when he first started but is now one of my favs. Let's hope Joel finds his mojo!"