JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Gieschen: rule hasn't changed

Mitch Duncan is tackled by Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli.

Mitch Duncan is tackled by Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

THE controversy over the free kick not paid to Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli in the dying seconds of last Friday night's Hawthorn-Geelong thriller continues to be the subject of vigorous debate, with the AFL denying the interpretation of the holding-the-ball rule has changed.

Hawthorn supporters are still livid that Rioli's tackle on Geelong's Mitch Duncan was not rewarded with a free kick, despite the Cat having taken several steps after receiving the ball and failing to get foot to ball as it spilled free.

With the Hawks leading by three points and just over a minute left, Rioli would have kicked for goal from only 30 metres out, directly in front, had the free been paid.

The Cats stole victory with Tom Hawkins' goal on the siren.

AFL umpires' director Jeff Gieschen last night defended the decision, claiming that Duncan had been blindsided by Rioli and hadn't been given prior opportunity.

"He's taken the ball, prepared, balanced, gone to kick, tried to do it quickly," Gieschen said. "He wasn't trying to take Rioli on, he was trying to get rid of the ball legitimately, so we're happy for the play-on call based around it being not a prior opportunity."

Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell weighed into the debate on Sunday when he claimed on Channel Seven's Game Day that similar scenarios this year suggested the interpretation of prior opportunity had changed.

"What I've noticed is it doesn't get paid as often this year," he said. "If someone is going into a kicking motion and it gets knocked out, that used to be dropping the ball if you didn't make contact with the foot, but I don't think it's umpired that way any more."

But Gieschen dismissed that suggestion. "Nothing has changed,'' he told The Age last night. ''Prior opportunity is interpretative. It's not just about how many steps they take, it's about whether he had any chance to dispose of the ball in a natural state, and in this case he hadn't.

"We think that prior opportunity, we've been really consistent with. I'd put it the other way and say that that is one area of holding-the-ball that we feel players understand really well. If they've had it [prior opportunity], unless they're blindsided, more often than not they get their kick or handball away."

Gieschen pointed out that umpires' coaches Rowan Sawers, Bryan Sheehan and Hayden Kennedy had also agreed with the call of play-on.

Gieschen, though, who did concede another critical free kick from last weekend, that paid to Collingwood's Harry O'Brien for alleged interference by St Kilda's Stephen Milne, was an error, was still explaining the Rioli decision to disgruntled Hawk fans on SEN yesterday.

"We can understand people thinking that way … but we've got to look at it totally objectively and unbiasedly," he said. "Duncan … was blindsided by Rioli when he took that ball, he turned one step, he took one more step to prepare to kick and then was tackled in the act of kicking. Did he try to take Rioli on? No, he didn't. Had he had the ball for a long time? No, he hadn't.

''Rioli effected a fantastic tackle, the ball was knocked free, and we were really comfortable it was a play-on call under those circumstances."


  • This rule has killed the game..Next time fellas leave the ball alone..if it is on the ground..don't go for it..if you do and another 3 blokes jump on will be pinged..What a joke of a rule..FIX IT.

    What a joke
    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 8:02AM
    • There is no reward for a legitimately good tackle these days - but there is if you hang off the ball, wait for someone else to get it and then just lie on top of them so they can't possibly dispose of the ball. This is the worst AFL Administration ever and dwindling crowds are the result - true Aussie Rules fans despise you Deemtriou, Anderson, Geesh et al.

      Btw, was there on Friday night, and Hawks fans certainly shouldn't be complaining about the treatment they received from umpires across the course of the whole game! What was the free kick count, 25 - 14 or something, in a 1 goal game, that's a massive advantage.

      Go Blues
      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 11:07AM
  • What a load of rubbish from the Geish and his Martian cohorts. It is not interpretative. If you have the ball, are tackled and don't dispose of it correctly then its a free kick to the tackler unless you have not had prior opportunity. Where is the word BLINDSIDED mentioned in the rule book. I am not a Hawthorn supporter and love seeing their supporters whinge about the Martians, but Geishen has proven his incompetence with his comments about this incident and should be stood down immediately. Get an experienced and respected umpire to headup the umpire department and we might see some consistency back in the application of the rules, and see the end of encouraged interpretations that is killing our great game.

    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 8:05AM
    • I agree, what sort of defence is blindsided! Surely in a crowded forward line when the pressure has been high all game a player must expect to be tackled, and move the ball on. I must check the match stats to see if Mitch Duncan had more possessions than disposals, did the stats person award it as a kick or a hand ball? Even Gieschen must admit he had possession of the ball.
      He should have handballed, he had "opportunity" to handball. If there was not a target for a handball then that is reward for great pressure from the Hawks.
      I can understand people making mistakes, even umpires. But it is clear the AFL will not admit to a mistake if the result of a game had been affected.

      Up North
      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 12:54PM
  • Both in his coaching at Richmond and now in charge of the umpires, Gieschen has always lacked logic and clarity of thought and process.

    He really should not be in this position, his lack of leadership levaes all the umpires (who have propably the most difficult officiating job in any sport) very exposed.

    Captain Grumpy
    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 8:10AM
    • Boom-Boom............and I don't even follow the Hawks.

      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 9:07AM
  • Hawk fans, get over it. You don't hear Cats fans complaining about the 2 SOFT frees given to you in the first quarter resulting in your only goals of the quarter. Stop whinging and live with the fact that the better side won on the night

    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 8:14AM
    • And I don't hear Cats fans complaining about the SOFTEST FREES OF ALL that they got in Q3, not to mention the "we love you darling" treatment that J.Selwood gets every week.

      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 9:54AM
  • Hawks supporters can bleed all they like about this. The first two goals they kicked were from frees awarded that were so soft they would have been play on in netball.

    i was there
    when the soft ones were paid
    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 8:17AM
    • Wrong. Hawthorn's first goal was a handball to an unmarked Luke Breust. Get your facts straight.

      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 9:55AM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Blues refuse to throw in towel

Brett Ratten says the Blues' desperate position has made him toughen up on players and staff.

Green in top form but 'it's time to go'

Just a fortnight ago Brad Green mused that in the six years since Melbourne has played finals, Joel Selwood had played in 12, including three premierships, in his first five seasons in AFL.

Demon loyalty goes to hell

Sentiment aside, there are sound reasons why Brad Green could have been retained for a 14th season.

No vulnerability about Sydney now

On the eve of the new season, Mick Malthouse did not have a great deal of faith in the Sydney Swans.

Milne taunt investigated

A homophobic taunt is believed to be at the centre of the AFL's investigation into St Kilda forward Stephen Milne.

Related Coverage

AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC ($1.29)vs NTH ($3.60) 19:50ES
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE ($2.50)vs ADE ($1.53) 13:05SS
BRI ($4.50)vs WBU ($1.20) 13:45G
PTA vs FRE 15:50Adelaide Oval
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($17.00) 16:40MCG
SYD ($1.04)vs GCF ($11.00) 19:20SCG
WCE ($1.04)vs STK ($11.00) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL ($3.20)vs GWS ($1.36) 13:10ES
COL ($1.28)vs ESS ($3.70) 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 21 17 4 0 125.10 68
West Coast Eagles 21 15 5 1 143.00 62
Hawthorn 21 15 6 0 156.77 60
Sydney Swans 21 15 6 0 124.11 60
Richmond 21 14 7 0 121.39 56
Western Bulldogs 21 14 7 0 116.76 56
Adelaide Crows 20 13 7 0 119.10 54
North Melbourne 21 13 8 0 109.08 52
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

HuffPost Australia

Featured advertisers