Replays showed clear touch, yet umpires called it a goal

The goal review system, a fiercely debated topic, has once again come under the spotlight for a baffling decision to award a goal to North Melbourne in the first quarter.

After AFL Football Chief Steve Hocking repeatedly criticised the goal review panel for overstepping their mandate, and the time it takes to make decisions, often stalling play, it's little surprise that something so controversial has happened.

“It’s there to support the umpires, it’s not there to intervene,” Hocking said strongly on Monday.

“There’s no doubt that over the weekend there were a number of incidents that just took far too long to review.

“It’s there to support the goal umpires and the on field umpire decision making and only call out the obvious incorrect calls.

“I’m a fan of the game and it is frustrating when you see half a dozen replays going on, that’s just too long.

“It’s extending it out to 30 plus seconds, we need to pull that back to about 15-20.”

Despite the criticism openly directed at umpires over officious use to goal review, or the goal review panel overriding decisions and interfering when it hasn't been called for, use between goals has been widely applauded.

While overturning goals after they've been kicked is frustrating, especially for players once they've set up for a centre restart, it has generally been welcomed.

However, tonight's goal review of Billy Hartung's clearly touched goal will shine a spotlight so bright on a system that's broken to its core.

Billy Hartung put the Roos' in front with a clever snap, after hustling McVeigh off the ball.

The Swans defender managed to get his fingers to the ball as Hartung snapped the ball over his shoulder, sailing through for a goal.

While the umpire in control said that all goals are reviewed, after McVeigh vehemently protested the contact, the central umpire restarted play before the review was completed.

Replays on television and the big screens at the ground, clearly showed the contact, with the Sydney crowd responding in a chorus of boos heard around the stadium.

As part of the review system, all goals are supposed to be reviewed, even if the umpires don't ask for one.

The Roos ended up winning the match by two points, with the touched goal influencing the end result.

Swans coach John Longmire wouldn't be drawn into talking about the review system after the match.

"If he touched it, he touched it, that’s what the review is for I would have thought, but anyway."

Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said that he would be surprised if the umpires didn't review the goal.

"They review every goal before the ball bounces for the next centre bounce, so I'd be staggered if they didn't look at it," Scott said.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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