Luke Shuey free kick the right decision, says AFL

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor

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    The AFL’s umpiring department says the decision to award Luke Shuey a free kick that led to a match-winning goal after the siren in Saturday night’s elimination final was the correct one.

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    Shuey was tackled by Port Adelaide’s Jared Polec with less than a minute to go in the extra time period of last night’s final, and while the original point of contact was below the shoulder, the free kick was paid after Polec’s tackle slipped high when Luke Shuey raised his arm.

    The umpiring department spokesman said the only question asked of umpire Chris Donlon, who awarded the free kick, was if there had been high contact in the tackle, which Donlon said there was. A second umpire near the contest supported Donlon’s decision.

    The AFL’s ticking off of the free kick will no doubt cause consternation for some, as it appears to be diametrically opposed the rule clarification announced at the start of the season which said that a free kick should not be paid if the ball carrier is responsible for the high contact.

    An AFL statement in December 2016 read:

    “The first assessment for the umpire will continue to be whether the tackle was applied in an appropriate manner.

    “Umpires will be asked to call play on when a tackle is assessed as reasonable (no swinging arm or contact being incidental) and the player with the ball is responsible for the high contact.

    “It is important to note that at all times the ball carrier retains protection against high or indiscriminate tackling.”

    Given the tackle was applied below the shoulder and only became a high tackle after Shuey raised his arm, it is difficult to understand how the AFL could consider it a legitimate free kick under this interpretation.

    Shuey was asked on Sunday whether he had contributed to the high contact, but decided to leave the answer up to the pundits.

    “Oh, that’s for you blokes to decide,” Shuey said. “It’s irrelevant to us, we are worried about moving on to GWS.”

    Port Adelaide senior coach Ken Hinkley was asked about the free kick as well, but preferred to focus on his team’s inability to convert their own chances on goal.

    “Kick straight, it’s been our problem for large part of the year, we’ve worked really hard at it all year and haven’t been able to convert the way we should,” he said.

    “It costs and hurts and obviously tonight more than you can imagine.”

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (87)

    • September 10th 2017 @ 1:16pm
      Dier-ba-zor said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

      This should settle the discussion, but there is bound to be at least one person who accuses the AFL of bias.

    • Roar Guru

      September 10th 2017 @ 1:24pm
      gameofmarks said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

      Jeeezzzz, even the the Umpiring Department can’t interpret their own rules correctly. No wonder umpires are derided as much as they are.

    • Roar Guru

      September 10th 2017 @ 1:24pm
      Cat said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

      The Shuey free kick was right but the goal that was obviously kicked off the WCE players hand should never have counted.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 1:30pm
        Swampy said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        What is the rule on that – I’m surprised it wasn’t made more of at the time as the port player’s hand was very clearly on the ball as it was kicked.

        Port have no one to blame though – they could have blown wc away with straighter kicking at the end of the game

      • Roar Guru

        September 10th 2017 @ 1:40pm
        gameofmarks said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

        Rule 21.1.3 (c) if a football is Kicked by a Player on the attacking Team at the time when another Player is touching the football, the football shall be deemed to have been touched by that Player;

        • Roar Guru

          September 10th 2017 @ 1:43pm
          Cat said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

          Which is what happened. the replay clearly shows the kick and touch simultaneous. Should have been a behind for Port, not a goal.

          • Roar Guru

            September 10th 2017 @ 1:49pm
            gameofmarks said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

            And you could probably argue the same about JK’s soccer goal unfortunately. So I think they both cancel each other out..

            • September 10th 2017 @ 4:41pm
              Luke said | September 10th 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

              I would argue that JK’s soccer goal was touched before he kicked it, and I don’t think that’s a biased position. With the McGovern incident you can actually see the ball change direction (from the foot) just before McGovern touched it.

        • Roar Guru

          September 10th 2017 @ 1:50pm
          gameofmarks said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          Sorry, should be Rule 12.1.3(c)

        • September 10th 2017 @ 5:27pm
          me too said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

          Thought both were goals. both shots were touched but both appeared to be in contact with the boot last.
          The Shuey free was clearly caused by an arm lift, but surely a player can try to dislodge a tackle – the tackler had the option of letting go after an ineffectual tackle, or taking his man high. So a free kick for me – but by the AFL’s own directions it wasn’t – they deserve any criticism coming their way.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 5:00pm
        Philby said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

        100% agree.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 1:32pm
      Stumpy said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

      Regardless of the decision how it is written or the rule’s interpretation, the most important thing to remember is it made Kochie sad.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 1:50pm
      Bill larkin said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

      Right decision. I would be apoplectic if it happened to my team though.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 5:01pm
        Philby said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

        Perhaps – but it would have been total injustice if not paid.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 1:51pm
      Ron Wilderson said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

      Considering the clearly touched ball of McGovern on Wingard followed by the Pittard forearm (lol) touched ball that denied the Eagles a goal in the 4th quarter.. I can’t understand the whinging. The eagles should have won by a couple more goals if the umpiring was fair.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 2:07pm
        Lroy said | September 10th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report


        Port had more than their fair share of luck during the game, more free kicks, a couple of goal line calls which should have gone the other way along with 8 more scoring shots…. even if the Shuey tackle argument is valid (which it aint) the Power have no one to blame but themselves, they had more than enough chances to ice that game and they didn’t.

        GWS next week for the Eagles in what should be another beauty.

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