‘What a load of rubbish’: AFL fans fume at missed time wasting free kick amid rules confusion

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AFL players and fans are still struggling to come to terms with the time-out rule that cost Collingwood dearly last weekend but did not pay off in Carlton’s win over Port Adelaide on Thursday night.

The Blues ran away from Port in the fourth quarter to claim a 16.11 (107) to 10.11 (71) victory, breaking their Adelaide curse and making the Power look like what Fox Footy’s Jason Dunstall called a “fake top-four team”.

After the AFL sent a memo to the clubs during the week, the rule on holding the ball was significantly tightened in the first game of round 12, with players being penalised on several occasions.

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Attentive fans also noticed a moment late in the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s game when the referee did not award a free kick because of time wasting.

When Carlton Jack Carroll was tackled in midfield and “Ball Up” was called, he threw the ball to the ground, far away from the controlling referee.

Port Adelaide’s Jason Horne-Francis appealed for a free kick, but his efforts fell on deaf ears as another referee came in after the stoppage to put the ball back in the goal.

The moment came a week after Collingwood’s Lachie Sullivan was penalised for time-wasting in the closing stages of his side’s tie with Fremantle.

Thursday night’s incident could have been an even bigger drama if Carlton had not been leading by 36 points at the time.

During a stoppage for a ball-up, Sullivan was penalised for giving the ball to his team-mate Nick Daicos instead of referee Matthew Nicholls, and Freo’s Sean Darcy was given a gifted goal from the free kick.

“I was not happy with Fremantle-Collingwood’s decision regarding Sullivan,” Fox Footy’s Nick Dal Santo told news.com.au.

“The referee actually made the right call. I just don’t like the rule. I don’t think that moment or any other moment in a game should be judged that way.”

“If that happens in the first minute of the game, I don’t want to see it as a free kick against me. I just don’t like that for our game.”

The AFL has made it clear that it is considered a waste of time if a player does not hand the ball directly to an umpire when play is stopped. Players are allowed to throw the ball on the ground, but if they give the ball to another player, it is considered a waste of time.

Football fans, especially Collingwood supporters, were baffled that no time-wasting free kick was awarded following the Sullivan decision in the last round.

One fan wrote on X: “What was the rule again? Do you have to give the ball straight back to the umpire? Lol what nonsense… JHF even pointed it out to the umpire and he did nothing…” said a diehard Collingwood fan.

A Magpies fan account said: “Where was the waste of time here?”

By now the refereeing rule for holding the ball had become as clear as mud. Moves such as a player turning 360 degrees while in possession of the ball were often not penalised this season, even though this had long been accepted as an immediate penalty for holding the ball.

Midway through the first half, Carlton’s Charlie Curnow gained possession of the ball and was then held with one arm by Port defender Aliir Aliir.

Curnow fell to the ground, turned around and then belatedly threw Sherrin on his boot, whereupon the referee quickly blew his whistle for holding the ball.

One of the attentive viewers was former Collingwood captain and coach Buckley, who fired off a tweet dripping with sarcasm about X.

“Who would have thought that the football game would become faster and more open when the ball carrier is forced to make quicker decisions?” he wrote. ‍️

“Great adjustment.”

A series of rapid whistles were blown during the game as the umpires followed instructions from AFL headquarters.

As you can see in the video player above, early in the final half, Sam Walsh grabbed a loose football after a high pass and was quickly detained by two Port players, with the referee again immediately awarding a free kick.

In this case, Walsh had no opportunity to get rid of the ball, but the decision prevented another stoppage and allowed play to resume much more quickly.

“It’s going to be a ball,” said Dale Thomas.

“It will,” Brayshaw added.

“Is that how holding the ball is scored, in your opinion?” Nicholson asked Joel Selwood.

“From there you just have to try and achieve something,” replied the great Geelong player.

“So even if you just throw your boot at it, give it a chance.”

Later in the game, Buckley again used the social media platform with another take.

“And a big compliment to the field umpires tonight,” he wrote.

“Nick Foot, Matt Stevic, Jamie Broadbent and Craig Fleer put in an outstanding performance.

“A change in interpretation is one thing, but it still needs to be put into practice… great work.”

Read related topics:Adelaide

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