AFL umpires manager Jeff Gieschen says Hayden Ballantyne’s after-the-siren shot on goal that nearly won Sunday’s Derby for Fremantle should have been called play on.
Gieschen believes the small forward ran off his line as he prepared to kick, meaning the behind scored from the set shot shouldn’t have counted.
As it was, the shot from outside the 50-metre arc didn’t change the game’s result. It hit the post, resulting in a one-point West Coast Eagles victory.
“The umpire set the mark where the ball crossed the boundary line, and that’s where the free kick should have been taken,” Gieschen said on his weekly afl.com.au show ‘What’s Your Decision?’ on Tuesday night.
“Ballantyne had an obligation to run on a straight line and kick the ball over the mark.
“(But he) moved in, then angled out and opened up the angle probably by a couple of metres.
“As soon as he crossed the line and opened up the angle to that extent our umpire should have just called play on.
“We’re lucky it didn’t go through (for a goal), because it would have been a big talking point.”
Gieschen said part of the confusion arose because the man on the mark, Eagles forward Quinten Lynch, didn’t stand exactly where the mark had been set.
“Lynch pushed out sidewards,” he said.
“Had he stayed on the mark it would have been quite obvious.”
But the umpires boss had no doubt about the decision that led to Ballantyne having the ball in his hands – a deliberate out of bounds call against Eagle Matt Rosa.
“Rosa made no attempt whatsoever to keep the ball in play,” Gieschen said.
“His whole intent was just to go ‘smash’, straight toward the boundary line with force.
“The umpire read that and correctly paid the free kick.”
Gieschen also pointed out that the deliberate out of bounds rule has been a focus of umpires all season.
So far this year, 86 deliberate calls have been made, compared to only 19 at the same stage of the 2010 season.
“We’ve been strong in that area,” Gieschen said.
“Over the last couple of years there’s been a real trend for teams to play the ball around the boundary line, and because of that boundary throw-ins have gone up significantly.
“So this year we were asked to be tougher … and any player that had an intent to put the ball out, we needed to pay a free kick against.
“We’re really committed to making sure that players try to keep the ball in play if they can.”
Watch ‘What’s Your Decision?’ for vision and Gieschen’s full explanation of the dramatic finish, plus his verdict on:
• A free kick against Nic Naitanui and a mark not paid to Chris Mayne, also from the Derby.
• Holding the ball decisions against Joel Patfull and Simon Black during the Brisbane Lions’ loss to North Melbourne.
• A contentious ‘advantage paid’ decision that resulted in a goal to North’s Ryan Bastinac.
• A mark paid to Melbourne’s Jeremy Howe despite teammate Colin Sylvia appearing to infringe Hawthorn’s Kyle Cheney in the marking contest.
• A holding the ball call against young Hawk Isaac Smith during the fourth quarter against the Demons.