- Video review controversy over deciding goal
- GREG BAUM: Anzac Day match a true heart-stopper
- ROHAN CONNOLLY: Collingwood's worst case of deja vu
- MARTIN BLAKE: Magpies laud brilliant Brown
COLLINGWOOD won a pulsating Anzac Day clash against Essendon on a video review of Jarryd Blair's clinching goal yesterday, but coach Nathan Buckley is not happy with the AFL's new system of checking goal umpire's decisions.
Blair's sliding goal off the ground from point-blank range in the 29th minute of the final quarter put Collingwood in front for the final time.
Jarryd Blair kicks the winning goal. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
While the review requested by the umpires appeared to focus on whether the football touched Blair's swinging right foot too high, slow-motion views of the incident suggest the ball may have hit his hand after touching his boot.
''I was pretty confident because I knew that I kicked it and I was pretty sure they [Essendon] didn't touch it before it got over the line,'' Blair said afterwards.
Buckley thought the Blair goal was ''pretty clear'', but he was annoyed by a third-quarter review of a Tyson Goldsack swipe at goal that ended up being judged a behind.
The television replay showed the ball dribbling off the bottom of Goldsack's boot and threading through just next to the goal post as Bombers full-back Dustin Fletcher lunged.
An AFL spokesman said the goal umpire in the Goldsack case had thought the ball touched the goal post, so asked for a review. When the replay was deemed to be inconclusive, the decision was referred back to the umpire.
Buckley said the league appeared to have changed tack on the reviews.
''I thought 'Goldy' got his foot to it, it didn't hit the post, and [Dustin] Fletcher didn't touch it, so isn't that a goal? It took a long time to work out we had to take the lesser of two, because they couldn't conclusively say it was a goal.
''I wasn't rapt with that at the time and I probably won't be rapt with it now or in a week's time. I would've been even less rapt with it if we'd lost by less than a goal.''
Umpires boss Jeff Gieschen this week moved to clarify the system, introduced this year, saying that if replays were inconclusive and the goal umpire was not sure, then the lower score had to be taken under the rules of the game.
The league has asked its goal umpires to speak up if they are certain. ''If the replay's inconclusive, it goes back to what the goal umpire's feeling was at the time,'' the AFL spokesman said. ''If at that point there's still doubt, then it goes to the lower score.''
But Buckley said he was not clear. ''I think it should go back to what the goal umpire thought it was initially,'' he said. ''If he thinks, 'it's a goal, but I want to get it checked', fair enough. If he thinks, 'it's a point, but I want it checked', fair enough. But if it was inconclusive, back the goal umpire.''
Collingwood's one-point win gets its season back on track at 3-2, with a game against Western Bulldogs in round six, defender Nathan Brown making a fine return yesterday and forward Alan Didak close, too.
The Magpies had a series of chances to clinch the win in the final quarter but could not deliver, with the coach frustrated that ''we could write a book on how many [times] we butchered opportunities''.
Didak will play in the VFL this weekend as he builds back to form. ''We didn't want to sell the farm by bringing blokes back before they're ready,'' said Buckley.
Essendon's four-game winning streak is over, but the Bombers were hugely brave, in front with two minutes to go and so resilient that coach James Hird was proud of his players. But Hird lost yet another player, defender Michael Hibberd, to a hamstring injury just before quarter-time. He has an epidemic of soft-tissue injuries on his hands, with seven players now affected.
Hird admitted it brought the club's training methods into question. ''We're not happy about it, obviously, and it's something we're looking at changing,'' he said.
''We put in place a program. I run the program and you've got to take responsibility. The players have been terrific and with extra training has come the ability to stay in a game like that today. It's also come with some injuries. There's a balance. We probably haven't got it right, but we'll get it right.''