The AFL community has absolutely exploded at a contentious umpiring decision during the game between GWS and St Kilda.
AFL fans have exploded in anger at a controversial 50 metre penalty in the game between GWS and St Kilda on Friday night.
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And the debate exploded again when St Kilda’s Dan McKenzie gave away a controversial 50m penalty in the first half of the clash against the Giants in Canberra.
McKenzie went up to contest a mark against Callan Ward and tried to pry the ball from Ward’s grasp, thinking it had touched the ground and was play on.
The umpire paid the mark but McKenzie disagreed and calmly pointed to the ground to indicate he thought it had touched the turf.
But the umpire had seen enough and immediately called a 50m penalty for “umpire dissent”, allowing Ward to advance up the field and kick an easy goal.
The commentators were stunned McKenzie was penalised for simply pointing at the ground, especially because he wasn’t aggressive or demonstrative towards the umpire.
Richmond great Matthew Richardson said on Channel 7: “Is that dissent? How’s that dissent?”
Commentator Brian Taylor said: “He’s trying to say the ball hit the ground. Really? Is this what we want?
“I just pray that a grand final is not going to be made with a decision like that.”
Daisy Pearce added: “To the letter of the law he’s questioning the umpire’s decision, so you can’t dispute that.
“Was it demonstrative? I don’t know. The trouble we’re going to have with this rule is that two out of the three umpires aren’t paying that but one is.
“There’s nothing demonstrative but he’s questioning the decision. But it’s always going to be up for interpretation by that one umpire as to whether they think it’s dissent.
“We will never get consistency on it because it is so much up for interpretation.”
AFL players and fans slammed the decision and pointed out several other players including Ben Long and Brayden Preuss raised their arms towards umpires earlier in the game but didn’t give away a penalty.
Brisbane Lions midfielder Mitch Robinson tweeted: “I can’t watch footy anymore.”
Former AFL player Bernie Vince said: “This “dissent” rule has to be change. Ruining the game!!”
Ex-Sydney Swans star Jude Bolton agreed: “We are setting the umpires up for failure by imposing the harshness of the interpretation of the dissent rule.
“There are already so many things they have to concentrate on. It doesn’t help the game — or assist them in the duties.”
Footy reporter Rohan Connolly said it was “another really poor example of ‘dissent’.
“McKenzie was pointing to the ground to indicate the ball hit the ground. Wasn’t aggressive, wasn’t disputing. Think that’s the worst one yet.”
Kane Cornes said on AFL Nation: “That’s rubbish. I bet they don’t pay that in the finals.
“You can’t pay goals against for that. All he was saying is ‘it hit the ground’, no swearing.”
St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt slammed the inconsistency in how the umpire dissent rule is being enforced.
“After a situation where the AFL was meant to make it crystal clear for everyone, we’re a half in and it’s an absolute farce,” he said on Fox Footy.
“Whether it’s right or it’s wrong, it’s a farce. There’s grey everywhere already, and we’re half a game of footy in.”
After a tight first half, the Saints kicked four goals in the third quarter to surge ahead.
The Giants didn’t help themselves with their scrappy and error-riddled play, as St Kilda closed out a hard-fought 17-point victory.
The result means St Kilda is now second on the ladder and its 5-1 win-loss record is its best start to a season since 2010.
Originally published as ‘Absolute joke’: AFL erupts at ‘rubbish’ umpire dissent penalty