On Thursday night, the AFL world finally faced a reality it had been avoiding for many years.
Sydney Swans co-captain Dane Rampe has been fined a total of $11,000 – $6000 of which is suspended – for two controversial incidents in his side’s dramatic five-point win over Essendon on Friday night.
The most notable incident was undoubtedly his bizarre decision to climb the goal post while Essendon’s David Myers was lining up for a speculative match-winning shot after the siren from well beyond 50 metres.
AFL laws stipulate that a player who intentionally shakes the goal post will be penalised, allowing the shot-taker to have a free kick from the centre of the goal line, but umpire Andre Gianfagna elected to order Rampe off the post instead of blowing the whistle in one of the most controversial decisions of the season.
Had the umpire penalised the Swans, Essendon would have almost certainly won the match with Myers’ free kick.
Intentionally shaking the goal post is a reportable offence and, despite the Match Review Officer electing not to cite Rampe under that law, the AFL has issued the defender a suspended $1000 fine.
But it’s an incident involving umpire Jacob Mollison earlier in the game that has incurred the greater wrath from AFL house, with Rampe fined a whopping $10,000 for his offensive comments to the official, with half of that sum funded for the remainder of his career.
After taking a mark inside defensive 50, Rampe was unaware that he’d been called to play on and gave away a holding the ball free kick after being tackled by Jake Stringer. During his argument with Mollison over the call, Rampe said: “you talk like a little girl.”
It’s not the first time Rampe has made headlines for umpire interactions. Last season, after Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson reportedly met with CEO Gillon McLachlan over supposedly illegal blocking tactics employed by Swans defenders, Rampe asked umpire Nick Foot if he’d had a coffee with Clarkson too after he was penalised the next week.
AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking said in a statement that “Dane is well aware the derogatory nature of his remarks are completely unacceptable and have no place in our game.”
Rampe previously apologised for both incidents in a video posted to Swans social media accounts last night, while coach John Longmire revealed at a press conference yesterday that Rampe was unaware of the rules against shaking the goal post.