The AFL’s crackdown on referee abuse is back in the spotlight after a questionable 50m penalty awarded to Collingwood in their seven-point loss to Brisbane.
The incident happened in the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s game when Lions defender Harris Andrews awarded a 50m penalty while standing on the mark as Collingwood’s Darcy Moore prepared to shoot a stopped kick.
Andrews was puzzled as to why he was penalized, with referee Andrew Stephens indicating it was because he held his arms out demonstratively.
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As part of the AFL’s crackdown on referee abuse, officials have been empowered to penalize players who answer to them about certain decisions.
However, this particular case has left players, commentators, and fans confused.
“He was actually turning around to speak, and the referee said you put your arms out,” former Brisbane player Luke Hodge said in commentary on Seven’s cover.
“They brought it in for the first weekend of pre-season games and the referees were so tough, but then the players were able to slip away week after week.
“It looked like he just turned around to talk to the referee, so if they want to do that, they have to be firm with everyone.”
Moore duly netted the goal to reduce Brisbane’s lead to 18 points with 15 minutes remaining, but despite a brave return effort from the Magpies, the Lions were able to hold on.
Questions about the punitive nature of the 50m penalty rule have led to discussions over whether a 25m penalty should be introduced, with the number of 50m penalties awarded per game having nearly doubled over the past few years. completed first four rounds of the season from 1.6 per game. at 2.8.
Legendary former Essendon manager Kevin Sheedy and AFL icon Leigh Matthews have backed the implementation of a new 25m penalty.
“We’re not talking about a player’s lack of discipline because he deserves 50m if he abuses a referee or hits an opponent,” Sheedy told the sun herald.
“But I don’t like it when they look at a referee and his 50 yards.
“And the 50m penalties for breaking the stand rule… My god… and then the player runs away with the ball and the referees don’t call the game fast enough.
“If the player is simulating a handball, it must be a game. If a player moves a few steps, it should be 25m, not 50m.
“One day this will decide a grand final… do we want this?”
“When I look at when a 50 yard penalty is called, I think it’s a big penalty for a very small infraction,” Matthews added on 3AW. sports day. “But then I say, what’s the alternative?”
“So if we went to a 25-yard penalty for some (infractions), it makes things a bit more difficult for the referees,” he added.
“Let’s say we had a 50-yard penalty for some breaches, maybe a 25-yard penalty for other breaches.
“Would the 25-yard penalty be enough of a deterrent to prevent players from testing this rule?”
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