OPINION

Another week, another AFL umpiring howler

Melbourne was extremely stiff after another poor umpiring decision in Adelaide. Photo: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images
Melbourne was extremely stiff after another poor umpiring decision in Adelaide. Photo: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images

One of former umpires head coach Hayden Kennedy's pleas before departing the job recently was for everyone to stop focusing on contentious decisions in the dying seconds of games.

Sorry Hayden, but Melbourne supporters are not listening, and justifiably so after another shocking adjudication cost the Demons dearly on the road on Saturday night.

With only a point separating the teams and Adelaide supporters at fever pitch, young Crow Nick Murray clearly did not show enough intent to keep the ball in play from outside his defensive goal square as his handpass dribbled over the boundary line.

It should have been a free kick to Melbourne and the Demons probably would have scored to at least tie up the game. But the Crows managed to hold on and inflict the luckless visitors' first loss of the season.

There are many decisions, correct and incorrect, made by umpires every game. It is becoming an increasingly difficult game to officiate, but these blatant errors infuriate players, coaches and fans.

Memo incoming umpires coach Michael Jennings: umpires should exercise more common sense, show some guts and not cave in to the overwhelming roar of affirmation from home-town supporters.

SATURDAY ARVO'S FAR FROM DEAD

A week after Saturday afternoon football was declared "kaput" by Eddie McGuire, almost 46,000 turned out in perfect autumn weather at the MCG to watch two lowly-ranked teams go at it.

As McGuire called the action from the Fox Footy commentary box, Carlton and Hawthorn supporters revelled in the opportunity to watch their clubs play in the traditional timeslot.

The healthy turnout proved my point in last week's column that if you put on a game between clubs with huge supporter bases at the best venue, Saturday afternoon remains the most popular family-friendly timeslot to watch live games.

Lance Franklin could pass 1000 goals. Photo: Will Russell via Getty Images

Lance Franklin could pass 1000 goals. Photo: Will Russell via Getty Images

BUDDY WITHIN RANGE OF 1000

Lance "Buddy" Franklin may reach the magical 1000-goal milestone this season if his brilliant display in Sydney's narrow loss to Fremantle is any indication.

Franklin's six-goal haul took his goals tally in 306 games with Hawthorn and the Swans to 963, just seven short of Richmond champion Jack "Skinny" Titus.

Ahead of Titus are five forwards who have scored more than 1000 goals in AFL/VFL: Tony Lockett (1360), Gordon Coventry (1299), Jason Dunstall (1254), Doug Wade (1057) and Gary Ablett senior (1031).

Franklin, 34, has scored 19 goals in six games this season.

The veteran Swan has another 12 games and maybe finals to boot another 37 goals, well within his capabilities if he stays fit.

COASTING ON DOWNHILL PATH

Building a successful professional sporting franchise on the Gold Coast has never been done, and unfortunately the Suns appear to be going down a familiar path.

In its 11th season, Gold Coast is yet to play in finals and this season seems another lost cause, sitting 15thwith a 3-7 record, a disappointing percentage of 87.3 and three games outside the top eight.

As with all clubs this season, injuries have taken a heavy toll.

The loss of several key players, particularly co-captain and No. 1 ruckman Jarrod Witts and young gun midfielder Matt Rowell, has hit the Suns hard.

The absence of centre half-forward Sam Day, who can relieve the pressure on youngster Ben King, their best small defender Connor Budarick and another backman Jack Bowes has also hurt.

Gold Coast has shown an inability to take out tight games, having lost to Adelaide, Carlton and St Kilda this season when in winning positions. If the Suns had won two of those matches, they would be sitting in a reasonable place at 5-5.

Players who have been in the system for at least four years such as Ben Ainsworth, Will Brodie and Brayden Fiorini have not progressed as quickly as the Suns hoped, leaving it to younger guys to contribute more.

Importantly, the Suns do not have a successful culture on which to fall back on in hard times.

Apart from the juggernauts based in AFL heartlands, Adelaide and West Coast, start-up clubs have not enjoyed much success so far.

While not having the ultimate success, Fremantle and Greater Western Sydney have played in finals and each made a grand final last decade.

Sydney and Brisbane did not start from scratch, having inherited the culture and history from their original VFL clubs South Melbourne and Fitzroy when they relocated north.

Port Adelaide has more than 150 years, 36 SANFL premierships and one AFL flag to draw on.

Gold Coast is a great place for a holiday and residents are not passionate about any sport, including AFL.

Typically, people who relocate there from the southern states either continue to support their previous clubs or would rather go to the beach.

When I've attended games at Metricon Stadium, the opposition supporters generally outnumber the Suns' two to one.

Many top players have left the Gold Coast to enjoy success at other clubs.

The Suns must hold onto their youngsters such as Rowell, King, Noah Anderson, Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine or the club's future is doomed.

Email: howardkotton11@gmail.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59.

  • This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas
This story Howard Kotton | Another week, another AFL umpiring howler first appeared on The Canberra Times.