Iâ€™ll admit that my beloved Bombers have been rather fortunate of late with some of the recent matches they have been able to come away from with victories. The second last placed team from last season have managed to be competitive throughout some hard fought contests to find themselves in winning positions. Despite the undeniable improvement of Essendonâ€™s on-field performances the post-match focus (on more than one occasion) has been aimed at controversial umpiring interpretations that have been said to have assisted the Dons in getting the four points.
Now when your team is coming off one of the worst seasons in the clubâ€™s history, a year that saw the mighty powerhouse win a mere three matches, as a supporter you will happily take any triumph that comes your way regardless of the process.
The two umpiring decisions of which I refer are obvious to most, but for anyone that may have missed them allow me to recap.
The first was at the MCG, and although I maintain that the decision was correct in line with the rule, it was sad to witness. Matthew Richardson was deemed to have had his hands in Mal Michaelâ€™s back, not that the ex-Lion would have known. Richo, assuming his actions werenâ€™t to be penalised, went on to slot what he thought was a match winning goal. Not only was the ball brought back and the goal disallowed, but Richardson was said to have wasted time and a fifty metre penalty was given to Essendon.
The second scutinised adjudication, or lack thereof, occurred further north at the SCG the very next weekend. Adam McPhee gave himself a little too much room when kicking the ball inside the Bombersâ€™ attacking fifty during the dying stages of another epic clash between these two teams at this familiar scene. Incriminating TV camera evidence revealed that certainly the boundary umpire should have halted the flow of play as McPhee kicked thus eradicating the existence of Mark McVeighâ€™s candidate for â€˜Goal of the Yearâ€™.
So now we find ourselves approaching the main inspiration for this rant. How is it that almost immediately after the latter incident at the SCG the AFL deemed it worthwhile to investigate the incorporation of adding extra boundary umpires, while they remained tight lipped and stubborn regarding the ridiculous hands in the back rule? It is infuriating, as a footy fan it sure makes me angry – and my team won both games in question!
In my opinion this further highlights the infantile attitudes of the gameâ€™s administrators and their absolute inability to admit they are wrong. Why would they present such an efficient and accommodating persona regarding one matchâ€™s conclusion, yet remain so inflexible and persistent regarding another just one week apart?
There has been claims that the health of the sport is atop the priority pile, however, I believe this is only the case when it suits the AFLâ€™s self-righteous and blinkered, insipid bunch of out-of-touch, school-yard quality, flippant rule maker-upperers!
Article written by Mark Franklin from oneweekatatime.com.au